A simple pre-trip inspection can help save trouble down the road.
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A simple pre-trip inspection can help save trouble down the road. In addition to routine maintenance and repair, drivers can use this checklist to reduce the risk of a breakdown:
- Be sure tires (including the spare) are properly inflated. Watch out for uneven tread wear and follow your owner’s manual for proper tire rotation frequency. Take your car to an ASE-certified technician to have tires rotated and balanced.
- Test brake lights, headlights and turn signals to make sure they work properly. Change any weak bulbs.
- Replace worn wiper blades.
- Check fluid levels under the hood, including battery fluid, brake fluid, coolant, oil, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid.
- Check belts and hoses for any visible cracks or bulges. If belts and hoses are over 4 years old, take your car to a certified technician and have them replaced.
In case of a roadside emergency, the National Safety Council recommends you be prepared with a “survival kit” that should always remain in the car. Ten essential supplies include:
- Blanket and warm clothing
- Exterior windshield cleaner and coolant (also called antifreeze)
- First aid kit
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Non-perishable food
- Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
- Tool kit
- Working flashlight and extra batteries