Check your A/C. With record-breaking temperatures this summer, the last thing you want is for your air conditioning to fail. There are several reasons your A/C might stop working, so planning ahead and getting it checked out before you hit the road is a worthwhile investment.
Check the coolant. Make sure there’s plenty of coolant in your car and also look for any leaks that might indicate other problems.
Test or replace your battery. Warm temperatures are hard on batteries, so have the battery and charging system tested to make sure it has enough life in it to get through the summer. (If your battery is more than five years old, it might be time to replace it.)
Inspect your tires. Tires should be inspected to make sure they have the appropriate amount of tread and to look for leaks or uneven wear. Long trips on hot roads put a lot of stress on your tires, so make sure they’re up to the task. (And be sure you know your correct tire pressure and check it on road trips.)
Change your oil. A hot engine needs lubrication, and if you wait too long between oil changes, you’re tempting fate. Wear on your engine increases as the oil level decreases, so make sure you’re current on oil changes.
Replace your wiper blades. Changing temperatures can do a number on rubber wiper blades, and nobody wants to get caught in a summer downpour with failing wiper blades. Blades should be replaced every six to 12 months, and if your car has been outside in extreme temperatures, it could be time for a new set of blades.
Inspect your brake system. Sure, your brakes seem to be working fine. But there’s a lot more to your brake system than just brakes. A thorough inspection of your brakes, pads and rotors, plus a brake fluid flush, will keep you feeling confident coasting down even the steepest mountain slope.
Check all belts and hoses. Extreme weather is hard on your car’s belts and hoses, so have them checked for fraying, stretching and cracking.
Inspect the front and rear suspension. No one will argue about the importance of being able to steer your car, so make sure your steering and suspension system is good to go — before you go.
Check on the transmission. Transmissions often fly under the radar … until there’s a problem. If you’re getting close to the recommended service time for your transmission, flushing it and changing out the fluid is a great way to keep your road trip on track.