A Family’s Safety is Paramount
We rely on our vehicles to get us safely from A to B, but sometimes we forget that cars need our attention too. In-between grocery runs and soccer games, there’s barely time for anything – much less a trip to the auto mechanic. But the bottom line is that our families’ safety is of paramount importance. It trumps everything else.
Maintenance is especially important before any road trip, so let’s take some time to ensure our vehicles are up to the task. Here are five ways to make sure your vehicle is safe for the family trip:
1. Get a tune-up
Not only does your car need regular maintenance, but it’s also a good idea to get some basics checked before you go. Ask your mechanic to check wiper blades, tires, lights, brakes, coolant and anti-freeze. Tell him you’re about to embark on a family road trip and you need to ensure your car is in tip-top shape. Of course, it’s also a good idea to keep your car maintained throughout the year too.
2. Inspect your car seats
Now is a good time to check on your car seats to ensure they’re installed properly. Even if you’ve had them checked before, it’s a good idea to tighten straps and re-evaluate strap positioning. Determine whether your child has grown out of current positioning and adjust as necessary. If you have any question at all, be on the safe side and have a professional check the installation.
3. Update your emergency kit
Most of us aren’t very likely to replace something we’ve “borrowed” from the car emergency kit. Make sure you take the time to make sure everything’s in place. This includes flashlights, phone chargers, blankets, water, jumper cables and first-aid items. You don’t want to find out you forgot something when you need it most.
If you’re going to be riding through snowy terrain, make sure your car is ready. Pack an ice scraper, a shovel and gloves. A old piece of carpet can also be handy, if you have one. You can put this in front of the tire if you happen to get stuck on ice or in mud.
4. Check your tire pressure
Your auto mechanic should have checked your tire pressure with a tune-up, but if you haven’t been in a while make sure you do this yourself. Your auto manual can tell you the recommended amount of pressure that’s idea for your tires. Keeping your tires fully inflated is not only good for fuel efficiency, but it can also help you avoid getting a nasty tire blowout.
5. Check your battery
If you’ve ever had a dead battery, you know that this is one inconvenience you don’t want again. So, if your battery is a few years old, you’ll want to ask your mechanic to run a quick check. Batteries typically last between three and five years.
When your battery is nearing the end of its life, your mechanic may tell you it has a low charge. At this point, it’s probably best to replace the battery rather than risk getting stuck. If your battery has a good charge, just ask your mechanic to check its connections. Sometimes, connections can get loose and that’ll also cause you to get stuck.
Now that your car is safe and ready for the open road, it’s time to think about packing up the kids. You’ll need plenty of snacks, a good road trip playlist and lots of fun games.
Fortunately, the kids don’t have to think about mundane things like getting the car safe and ready. They can just focus on the fun!
Written by: Trevor McDonald – Trevor is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic”. He enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him planning his next trip or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.