Top 7 Important Things To Check On Your Car Before a Road Trip

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Road Trip

Once in a while, we get inspired to make that road trip, right? Be it for business or pleasure, there is a-must-check list before making your road trip. If you are asking, Why do I need to check my car before a road trip?’ Well, Road trips, especially if they are long can be somewhat hard on your vehicle. A small fault can be amplified and may end up damaging major components that are costly to repair.

Here are top 7 important things to check before a road trip.

1. Leaks and Hoses

The first thing that you should check is the leaks and hoses. If you identify bulges or blisters on any of the hoses then you should replace it. This is because bulges and blisters are signs of weakness that exist in the wall of the hoses and may result in bursting and leakages.

Also, ensure that all clips are cutting well into all the rubber to prevent leaks. Replace any hose that has pinhole leaks.

2. Tyres

Tyres that are in good condition will give you the much-needed peace of mind while traveling.

What are specific things that you should check on your car tyres? There are two important aspects that you need not to overlook. These include the threads and the pressure on the tyres. The threads should be in good condition so as to provide maximum traction. At the same time ensure that the pressure in all the four tyres is set as per the recommendations scripted on driver fuel filler door.

3. Engine Oil and Coolant

If you have previously turned a blind eye to changing oil then it’s high time you replaced the oil before making your trip.

A road trip will subject your car engine to heavy duty task and stress. If your oil is in poor condition then there is a likely hood of the engine malfunctioning. When you change your engine oil and coolant, ensure that you are replacing with the recommended brand of oil and coolants.

4. Lights

Driving without light is an offense but even worse is that it is hazardous to drive without lights in the night. Begin by checking the obligatory lights. These include the tail and side lights. You should check the headlights, number-plate and stop lights, as well as direction indicators.

Also ensure that the fog lights, hazard warning lights, are working optimally.

5. Brakes

Do you know that brake fluids can absorb moisture with time? Well, as brake fluids age, it absorbs moisture that can corrode the braking component. If you find that your brake fluid has turned to somewhat Marple syrup then you need to replace it.

Have the brake pads inspected and the worn out ones replaced.

6. Gas Cap

A gas cap plays an important role in the fuel system. It will prevent evaporation, spillage of gases as well as keeping off contaminants from entering the fuel tank. Ensure that your gas cap is securely fastened before starting your journey. The good thing is that when your vehicle detects a problem within the fuel system, the check engine light comes on.

Use an OBD2 scanner to turn off the lights after fastening the gas cap.

7. Catalytic Converter

If you are wondering what role a catalytic converter plays, then you should know that it serves to protect the environment. It helps to convert the poisonous carbon monoxide to harmless carbon dioxide.

A malfunctioned catalytic converter can result in a significant drop in millage or your car failing to start altogether. Use an OBD2 scanner to detect if there is any problem and subsequently inspector the catalytic converter. If you do not want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere, then it is recommended that you check the condition of the catalytic converter.

II. Check your car with an OBDII automotive scan tool before a road trip

Using an OBDII automotive diagnostic scanner to check your car before making your road trip is a wise move and a first step towards enhancing the chances of a successful road trip. OBDII car diagnostic tools are designed to retrieve Diagnostic trouble codes from your vehicle’s onboard computer.

There are many scan tools that can help you check your car before making your road trip. If you never checked your car using a scan tool then here is a step by step guide on how to check your car with an OBDII automotive scan tool.

  • To begin a diagnosis with a car diagnostic tool, you have to first turn off your car engine.
  • Use the available data link connector found under the dash
  • Plug the car diagnostic tool cable to a pot located under the steering wheel.
  • Switch your car ignition cylinder so as to provide power to the OBDII car diagnostic tool.
  • The car diagnostic tool should auto-activate when the ignition is turned on. If it fails to auto-activate, simply turn it on.
  • Press the scan button for the car diagnostic tool to start retrieving diagnostic trouble codes.
  • Always refer to your car diagnostic tool if you find difficulty in retrieving codes.
  • If your car diagnostic tool is compatible with your PC you can connect the two devices so as to get enhanced eligibility of Diagnostic Trouble Codes. 

III. Summary/Conclusion

Checking these seven things before making your road trip is a brilliant way to stay one step ahead of your car breaking down when you need it the most. You can physically inspect your car to identify if there is any sign of impending trouble.

Even better, you can use OBD-II scan tool to automatically check your car problems before the trip. Using a car diagnostic tool should be your first choice as it will comprehensively scan the car and identify hidden faults that are hard to identify physically.


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