Originally published on 04/25/2015
Updated on 09/01/2022
Summer road trips are a staple of the American way of life for many people. Whether you’re driving your family to Disneyland, visiting relatives, or maybe just heading across the country to see what’s out there, your vehicle will greatly benefit from a proper vehicle checkup before and after your trip.
Why? There are several reasons, all of which relate to the maintenance and safety of your vehicle.
Reason 1: Ensure Your Vehicle Is Safe and Roadworthy
The key reason to have a pre-trip vehicle check is to ensure you're safe during your journey, and the post-trip inspection ensures you’ll continue to be safe when your life resumes after vacation.
Pre and Post-Trip Vehicle Maintenance Checklist
Five maintenance items need the most urgent attention before long travel. If you do have to limit your inspection for whatever reason, ensure that the following things are all included:
- Air conditioning and cooling systems
- Steering and suspension
With all of these in good order, your vehicle is at the very least safe and road-ready. A more thorough inspection, however, will include the condition of your filters, belts, hoses, fuel system, and more. The more you check, the better.
Reason 2: Spot Problems Before They Strand You
One of the key reasons to get your vehicle inspected before and after a road trip is to notice minor issues that could turn into serious problems while traveling. From rattling or grinding sounds to warning lights (such as your “Check Engine Light”) coming on are all warning signs that your vehicle needs immediate servicing.
Having a technician cast their professional eye (and an OBD-II diagnostic tool) over the vehicle will reveal what are now minor problems that could later transform into a roadside breakdown or worse. Equally, problems can arise while you’re out on the road, which a post-trip inspection will reveal and fix quickly.
Your vehicle’s engine and transmission have many individual moving parts and systems. One component going bad can affect the components and systems around it. An overview conducted by a trained technician can isolate the problematic components before damage occurs or worsens. Knowing the main warning signs of trouble regarding your transmission or engine can help you know when to take your vehicle in for a check-up.
Reason 3: Your A/C and Cooling Systems Need It
Two areas of your vehicle under strain during any long road trip are your air conditioning system and cooling system.
We see a lot of A/C problems because people don’t service them regularly. Your cooling systems also have many maintenance myths, so make sure you know what those are and how to maintain that system properly. When driving hundreds of miles over 8-12 hours a day, your A/C and cooling systems work on overdrive to keep everything cool and running optimally.
Your A/C and cooling systems need to be strong enough to endure the long trip you're preparing for and in good enough condition to continue working for you when vacation time is over and everyday life resumes.
When In Doubt, Get a Checkup!
It’s always a good policy to check your vehicle before and after a long trip or when you think something sounds or feels off. A quick check-in with an auto technician might reveal a minor problem that can be fixed now, rather than leaving it to become a catastrophe that costs thousands of dollars later.
Our AAMCO Overland Park Center offers quality inspections, maintenance, and repairs for all makes and models of vehicles. From oil changes to engine replacements, our experienced technicians will take care of your car or truck and have it back on the road in no time. We offer competitive rates and convenient hours, so contact us today to schedule your appointment!