With Spring Break upon us and the summer months almost here, it’s time to start thinking about taking a family road trip. Whether you’re planning to head over to the coast, down to SoCal, or to other picturesque locales, it’s always a good idea to keep safety a top priority.
To help you maximize the fun and minimize the stress on your next road trip, we’ve assembled these handy tips and suggestions that will help keep you and your family safe no matter where the road takes you.
Vehicle Safety Inspection: Is Your Car Road Trip Ready?
Before you head out on the highway, the first thing you need to do is check your vehicle to make sure it’s ready for the road ahead. You should inspect the following key items:
Look for signs of uneven tread wear, or any cracks or gouges in the sidewall. Make sure that your tires and your spare are properly inflated. Consult your owner’s manual for more information.
Oil, Transmission, Coolant & Fluid Levels
Most new cars have plastic reservoirs for brake, power steering, and wash fluid; making it easy to visually inspect them. If you need to add any fluids, be sure to use a clean, unopened container to avoid contamination. It’s also important to check the oil, coolant, and transmission fluid and have these changed if necessary.
Belts & Hoses
Inspect belts and hoses for wear and tear. Look for soft spots in hoses and cracked, blistered, or soft belts. Note: this should always be performed with the engine off. It’s also a good idea to wait until the engine cools off to avoid possible burns on hot engine surfaces.
The last thing you want is to be stuck in an unfamiliar place with a dead battery. Avoid this inconvenient set-back by checking for corrosion around your car battery terminals and cracked or worn battery cables. It’s also a good idea to have your battery tested by a professional who can recommend if it needs replacing.
Check your wiper blades for any cracks or signs of wear, like skipping or streaking. Replace with a new set of blades, if necessary.
A dirty air filter can rob your car of performance and decrease fuel efficiency.
Headlights & Taillights
Make sure your headlights are aimed properly and that your taillights and turn signals are in proper working order.
If your vehicle seems sluggish and not as responsive as it used to be, it may be time for a tune-up. An engine tune-up helps to restore performance, while greatly improving gas mileage.
Quality Auto Service in Modesto, CA
Bring your car to our Central Valley Volkswagen Service Center and let our certified and factory-trained technicians make sure that it’s ready for your next road trip. Let us perform a multi-point checkup on your vehicle before you hit the road. We service most makes and models.
Additional Road Trip Safety Tips
Now that your car is prepped and ready to go, here are some additional safety suggestions you should consider:
Even if your car doesn’t have a built-in navigation system, most modern smartphones have navigation apps that will help guide you to your destination without error. To avoid any surprises, sit down and plan out your route, including rest stops, beforehand. Google Maps will not only show your entire route, but you can also print out turn-by-turn directions.
Get a Good Night’s Rest
Before embarking on your journey, be sure to get plenty of rest the night before. If possible, switch off driving with another adult every few hours.
Have an Emergency Kit
At minimum, a basic car emergency kit should include water, blankets, a flashlight, jumper cables, emergency flares, and first-aid materials. Keep your cellphone fully charged, and consider subscribing to a roadside assistance plan.
If your child uses a booster seat, make sure that it is correctly installed by calling 866-SEAT-CHECK for a location here in the Modesto area that will provide a free car seat safety inspection.
Be Equipped for Heat & Sun
Use hats and sunglasses to shield yourself and your passengers from the sun. Also carry plenty of sunscreen. Consider buying a sunshade for the back seat, and cover seats with blankets when leaving the car. Most importantly: never children or pets unattended in a hot car; even for a few minutes.
Store Items Safely
Be sure and stash heavier items in the seat wells or in storage compartments to avoid the risk of them flying around the cabin in the event of an accident.
Protect Your Valuables
Keep your valuables locked up in the trunk or hidden out of sight to avoid theft. Remember to always lock your car.
Have Plenty of Gas
Keep your car fueled up throughout the trip. To avoid any gas-related dilemmas, don’t let the gas gauge get below a ¼ of a tank.
Sometimes road conditions or other factors may force a change in plans. Be flexible enough to adapt to changing situations.
We’re Passionate About Safety at Central Valley Volkswagen
As the top Volkswagen auto dealership in Modesto, we’re proud to offer some of the safest and most reliable new cars on the market today. The sleek and sophisticated 2015 Volkswagen Golf, GTI, Jetta, and Passat, were recently named 2015 “Top Safety Picks” for exceptional safety features by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). These 2015 Volkswagens, along with many of our other top safety-rated vehicles here at Central Valley Volkswagen, features an array of cutting-edge safety technology and five-star-rated features.
To learn more about some of the safest and most reliable cars on the road today, visit our showroom, conveniently located at 4620 McHenry Avenue, Modesto, CA 95356. To contact our Sales Department or Certified Service Center, call 209-524-6811.