“Know Before You Go” Suggested Pre-Trip Checks

Emergency Trunk Supplies LoRes

HERE’S A HELPFUL PRE-TRIP CHECKLIST TO HELP YOU CHECK YOUR VEHICLE OUT BEFORE MAKING A LONG-DISTANCE DRIVE.   CONSULT YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL OR SPEAK TO YOUR TECHNICIAN FOR   ADVICE IF YOU ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH ANY OF THESE PROCEDURES:

1. ENGINE OIL LEVEL
2. COOLANT LEVEL
3. FAN AND ACCESSORY DRIVE BELTS (visual checks: cracks, frayed?)
4. RADIATOR HOSES (visual checks: cracks, blisters — two years or older?)
5. TRANSMISSION FLUID LEVEL
6. BRAKE FLUID LEVEL
7. BATTERY (visual checks: corrosion, dirty? Check the label for the battery service life; most batteries today otherwise indicate “maintenance-free.” If your battery doesn’t say “maintenance-free,” then you should ask a technician to assist you in checking the internal acid level (if you proceed to check further wear eye protection).
8. HORN
9. LIGHTS (headlights — both high and low beams, turn signals, parking lights, running (side) lights, brake lights, back-up lights, emergency flashers.
10. TIRES (tire pressure — don’t forget to consider any extra loads; are you towing? Visually inspect tires for irregular tread wear or sidewall damage. Consult your owner’s manual for additional information on tires and pressure specifications.)
11. WINDSHIELD WIPERS (visual checks: wiper blades; washer reservoir level)
12. SHOCKS/STRUTS (Bounce each corner of the car up and down several times — separately, in both front and rear. When released, the car should not continue bouncing more than once. Shocks and struts are both stabilizers; if the car bounces alone more than once the shocks are worn — or you’ve been working out with Arnold what’s-his-name.)
13. EXHAUST SYSTEM (Carbon monoxide is a highly toxic gas that can be deadly in concentrations. Exposure to even small amounts can cause nausea and headaches. Big leaks are easy to find because you hear them; small ones are sneakier. With the engine running; transmission in neutral; parking brake on: listen under the hood, around and from the underside of the car for any hissing, buzzing or rumbling sounds)
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