There’s much more to getting ready for a road trip than packing up your gear, grabbing some snacks for the road, and hopping in the car. You need to get your car ready too. If you’ve been dreaming about hitting the open road to see the sights, no matter how much planning you do, the trip will be a bust if you can’t depend on your vehicle. Here are some helpful hints to make sure you get the most out of your Kia by getting it as ready as you are for your road trip.
Check the Tires
It’s no surprise that you need good tires for a smooth ride, but they’re also essential to your safety and can help fuel efficiency. This is especially important if you’re taking an extended road trip. Before you take your Kia on the road, make sure to check the tire tread. If it’s getting low, it’s time to replace your tires.
It’s also important to check the air pressure. Underinflated tires will make your car less efficient. If they’re overinflated, it’ll compromise ride quality because the rubber is less compliant. When tires aren’t properly inflated, it can lead to uneven wear, which shortens the life span of the tires. You can find the correct inflation rate in your owner’s manual or on a sticker inside the driver’s side door.
Once you have good tires, you’re ready for a safe drive, but you still want to have the tools you’ll need if you hit a curb or run over something sharp. Check your jacks and tire iron to make sure you have the right equipment if you need to change a tire.
Check the Fluids
The six essential fluids are the lifeblood of any vehicle. These play an essential role in almost every part of your car, from keeping the engine running properly to getting the most out of your fuel. Making sure they’re at their proper levels will help your Kia drive better and last longer. Unless you have an electric car, the essential fluids you should check before leaving on your road trip are the following:
- Engine oil: Engine oil lubricates all the engine components and prevents friction.
- Coolant: Coolant keeps all the engine components from overheating.
- Power steering fluid: Power steering fluid keeps the steering system working properly.
- Brake fluid: Modern brakes are hydraulic, and the fluid connects the pedal in the car to the brakes to operate them.
- Transmission fluid: Transmission fluid lubricates and cools the components in your transmission. Bad or low fluid can cause rough shifting.
- Windshield washer fluid: Washer fluid doesn’t affect your Kia’s performance, but it’s essential for safe driving.
Getting an oil change before you leave on a long trip is never a bad idea. Even if you have some miles left to go before it’s required, getting it changed before you head out on the road will start you with clean oil, which will help fuel economy.
Bring Your Car in for a General Maintenance Check
There are numerous components in your car that need regular maintenance, and getting a thorough checkup before you leave on a road trip will help ensure everything is working properly. Some of the items you should inspect include the following:
- Brakes and pads: The brakes are essential to your safety, so a brake check is a must. The pads are the first component to wear down since they provide the friction needed to slow and stop the car.
- Air filters: The air filters prevent dust and grime from getting into the engine. The filters get dirty and can become clogged, which impacts engine performance and can increase fuel consumption.
- Belts and hoses: The belts and hoses keep fluids moving and components rotating. Have the belts and hoses checked to make sure they’re all in good shape without any cracks or leaks. You should also have your mechanic check to make sure they’re securely attached.
- Light bulbs: The bulbs in your vehicle not only light the cabin but light the way in front of you. Check bulbs in the blinkers, brake lights, and headlights to make sure you don’t get pulled over for a burned-out bulb.
Check the Battery
Having a reliable battery is vital for a successful road trip. You can check its strength by using a voltmeter, or if you don’t have one, bring it to your mechanic so they can check it. While checking the battery’s strength, you also want to inspect the terminals, looking for corrosion. If you see any signs of it, clean them with a solution of baking powder and water. If you notice that the terminals are deteriorating or see any signs of damage, such as exposed wires, have them replaced.
Even if your battery is strong and good to go, it’s always a smart idea to have a backup. Before you leave on your trip, grab some jumper cables or a portable jump starter and tuck them in your trunk.
Empty the Trunk and Clean the Interior
Before you start packing up for your road trip, empty all the gear you’re carrying in the truck or back seat. The most efficient way to pack is to start with a clean slate. Removing unneeded items also lightens the load and will help with your fuel economy.
While you’re at it, you can also clean the car. Your road trip will be much more enjoyable if you start with a tidy vehicle. Vacuum the floors and seats, clean out the cup holders, and wipe down the dashboard controls. You’ll be happy you took the time once you get on the road.
When you need to get your Kia ready for a road trip, bring it to Huffines Kia McKinney. Our expert service staff will run through all the components to make sure it’s all ready for your road trip. You can call and make an appointment with our service center or use our online tool to schedule your service when it’s convenient for you.