Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. With COVID-19, chances are you’ve reconsidered travel options for yourself and your family. With many people avoiding airports, there’s an anticipated rise in car travel this year. Before you take off, there’s a few things you should do to prepare your vehicle for the journey. Getting your car ready will help make sure your Thanksgiving road trip goes according to plan.

1. Inspect the belts and hoses

Open the hood and inspect the hoses and belts. Your belts shouldn’t be slack, so if they seem loose, then they need maintenance. Examine your hoses and look for fraying or cracks. Additionally, keep an eye out for leaks. Any of these issues need to be repaired before you plan to travel.

2. Check the electrical before Thanksgiving traveling

Make sure all your lights are working, including the taillights, headlights, and blinkers. If you’re planning to travel in a motorhome or truck, double-check all the electrical here as well.

3. Fluids and filters

Before leaving, it’s smart to get your oil changed if you’re due. Additionally, top off any other fluids you’re low on. This includes windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, and transmission fluid. The air filters in your car’s engine and cabin affect fuel economy, engine performance, and air quality. You should replace the air filters each year, so it’s best to make sure this is done before your trip.

4. Inspect your tires

One of the most important things to check before a long trip is the tires. Air pressure is very important because it affects your gas mileage. Underinflated tires will cause you to waste gas. If your tires are overinflated, it’ll impact the quality of your ride. The wrong air pressure will shorten your tires’ lifespan, so check this before you leave. If you have a long trip ahead of you, check the air pressure every 1,000 miles as well. Tire rotation is important because it helps extend the lifespan of your tires. This needs to be done every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, so get this done before your trip if needed. In general, tires will last you anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 miles. If you know you’ve had your tires for some time, it’s a good idea to get them checked out before your road trip.

5. Listen to the brakes

Whenever your brakes make odd noises, it’s important to figure out what’s going on. A squealing noise usually indicates your brake pads are worn out and need to be replaced. Brakes are the most important safety feature of your car. It’s best practice to make sure they’re in top condition before hitting the road.

6. Check the battery

Examine your battery before leaving. It should be free of corrosion and securely connected. Car batteries typically last for 3 to 5 years. To help avoid a breakdown, get your battery inspected annually if it’s over 2 years old. Thanksgiving is notorious for hectic travel. Make sure your plans go off without a hitch by preparing your car before you leave. Take care of your car now, and it’ll take care of you on the road.

Does your vehicle need a pre-travel inspection? You’re in luck. Our experienced technicians at Carlson Automotive can help you out. You can ​request an appointment online​, or reach us by phone. Give us a call at (651) 458-5158 for our Cottage Grove Location, or (651) 578-0885 for our Maplewood location.