Do you service your car before a long road trip?
Yes, of course. First and foremost, I acknowledge that going on a long road trip is more than food and clothes. It is because the vehicle must be able to make it to the destination. The choice of servicing my car myself or taking it to a professional depends on the mileage since I got it checked. But either way, I follow a healthy regimen to service some things. I check and service the following aspects.
Tires: Although tire maintenance is a large topic on its own, I would do the fundamentals. I check for tire pressure and inflate them as necessary. I also always carry a portable tire inflator. It is because it might be needed for any flats or emergencies during the trip. This review was very helpful to find several great ones for the price. If you want to dive into detail about why this is essential, this is a good read.
Fluids levels: I would check for transmission fluid, and brake oil first. Then comes engine oil, coolants, and windshield washer fluids. If any one of these is low, I would top them up.
Brakes: This is a live saver (or the opposite). Since it is one of the critical elements, it is something I would check multiple times before a trip. They are commonly replaced after 35,000 miles. Grinding noises and slipping are telltale signs to replace or service them. So, I would rather be safe than sorry.
Lights and wipers: Lights are crucial as they are a safety concern. They also have legal consequences If neglected. It is more important than it gets credit for since it really prevents accidents. Additionally, for adverse weather conditions, the wipers are critical.
Air filters: You never want your engine to heat up and die on you on the road. So, I make sure to check the debris and cleanliness of the air filters of the engine. If it is dirty, I simply replace them before the trip.
Battery: Safe to say, without this the car would not even start. But that is not the end of it. If the battery fluids are low the air conditioning, screens, etc. would malfunction. So, I check for battery fluid and be sure it is not corroded.
Heating and air conditioning: Long trips take more than 4 hours before a stop, so convenience is key. Thus, the AC or heater is extremely important. I would take my car for a short drive around my neighborhood to make sure everything is working fine. Sometimes blown fuses, clogging, leaks, and dirty filters may lead to suboptimal performance.
All in all, I follow this checklist and would recommend others to do so. This is crucial for both safety and convenience.