Check Before You Go!

When it comes to road trips, you want to make sure that all aspects of your car are in tip-top shape. Check these before you go. 


The first purpose of an auto battery is to provide power for starting your vehicle. It also acts as a surge protector for the car’s computer and provides power for short-term use of things like lights, stereo, GPS, or wipers when the engine is off. The last thing you want on a road trip is your car battery going out.

Before you go, be sure to check your car battery for any visible damage, corrosion, or cracks. If your battery has any of these issues, it’s usually best to replace it. Bringing jumper cables as a backup plan is essential when going on a road trip: if your car battery fails while you’re away from home, knowing how to jumpstart your vehicle can be a lifesaver.

Engine oil

Motor oil keeps your engine running smoothly and lasting as long as possible.

To check your oil, pull out the dipstick and look at both sides of it. 

The oil should be at least halfway between the “full” mark and the “add” mark on your dipstick. If it’s too low, add some oil (usually a quart or so) before you leave so it will be ready for the next stop. Also, check the oil’s color. It should appear brown or black. But if it has a light, milky appearance, this could mean coolant has leaked into the engine. Look closely for any metal particles, too, as this could mean there is internal engine damage. If you see either of these conditions, get the car to a mechanic for further diagnosis.

Transmission fluid

Transmission fluid not only lubricates the moving parts but also provides hydraulic pressure and friction to make the internal parts work. Transmission fluid in both manual and automatic transmissions also helps to keep the transmission cool. Before you pour transmission fluid into your car, be sure to check the transmission fluid dipstick for an accurate reading. Each type of automatic transmission has its requirements for transmission-fluid replacement, so consult your owner’s manual before you dash off to the auto parts store.


Antifreeze ensures that your engine temperature remains stable to perform well in all climates. A bonus of engine coolant is that it also prevents rust and the corrosion of metals, in the radiator, engine, and heater.

If your coolant light comes on, your first action should be to check if your levels are low. First, allow your vehicle to cool down – if you don’t, hot pressurized liquid can spray out of the vehicle. Begin by locating the coolant reservoir under the hood near the front or side of the engine. It is usually transparent, with a line near the bottom labeled “cold” and a line near the top labeled “hot.” Remove the cap and check to see if levels dip below the “cold” line. If so, the mixture is too low.

Low coolant is usually the result of a leak. A leak needs to be found and fixed as soon as possible. If you are traveling in cold climates, checking your antifreeze is especially important.

Air filter

There are several reasons why you need to change your air filters regularly. Dirty or damaged air filters reduce the airflow to the engine, changing your car’s air-fuel balance. This imbalance can pollute spark plugs, causing the engine to miss or rough idle; increase engine depositions, and cause the ‘Service Engine’ light to turn on. 

Step 1: Prop up your hood

Step 2: Locate the air filter housing (located atop of aside your engine.)

Step 3: Undo the screws or latches to the housing

Step 4: Remove and Inspect

When inspecting your air filter it is recommended to put a light source behind the air filter and test how much light comes through. If there is adequate light coming through, your air filter most likely has more life to it. It is recommended to change your air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles


Make sure to check your tires before your long trip. Driving on tires with improper inflation pressure is dangerous and can cause tire damage as well as affect the vehicle’s ride, handling and fuel economy. 32 psi to 35 psi is the recommended tire pressure. 

Before heading out, it’s a good idea to have your vehicle’s tires rotated. Rotating your tires regularly (as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, or every 5,000 miles) promotes even tread wear and helps the tire perform as designed.

We want you to make the most out of your road trip, make sure to get regular maintenance checks on your vehicle to keep it in great condition. Investment Auto sells premier cars at the best prices. Our vehicles are re-conditioned and inspected before being sold. The quality of the cars we sell is something we take very seriously. Call Investment Auto today to find the perfect vehicle for you and your family.

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