It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just about here. With concerns related to travel and COVID-19 this year, our holiday plans will definitely look a little different. Lots of people are choosing to drive instead of fly, so we’re expecting a higher volume of road trips this holiday season. To make sure your trip goes according to plan, we have a few suggestions to get your car ready.

1. Inspect your tires before driving this Thanksgiving

Before going on any long-distance trip, you should always inspect your tires and check the air pressure. The wrong air pressure can shorten the lifespan of your tires. If your tires are overinflated, it’ll affect your ride quality. If they’re underinflated, you’ll have poor gas mileage. This is the last thing you want if you’re embarking on a long trip this Thanksgiving. In addition to checking your air pressure before you leave, be sure to check it again for every 1,000 miles you travel.

Rotations of Tires

Tires need to be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. This is to ensure they wear evenly, which will help them last longer. If you haven’t gotten your tires rotated in a while, it’s not a bad idea to get this done before your trip. Tires typically last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 miles. Knowing how long you’ve had your tires is important to consider before taking your car on a long trip. If you’re not sure, have a technician inspect them to see if you need anything replaced before leaving.

2. Check the electrical

It’s important that all your lighting is working the right way before your trip. This includes headlights, taillights, and blinkers. If you’re traveling via truck or motorhome, inspect all additional electrical as well.

3. Check the battery

The battery is one of the most important places to check. The last thing you want to deal with is a dead battery in the middle of a long drive. When examining it, make sure it’s properly connected and corrosion-free. Car batteries usually last for 3 to 5 years. If you’ve had yours for more than 2 years, you should be getting it inspected once a year.

4. Listen to the brakes

You usually know when you have a problem with your brakes. That’s because they start making strange, high-pitched noises. Oftentimes, a squealing sound means you need new brake pads. Brake pads supply the necessary friction to bring your vehicle to a stop. Eventually, they need to be replaced because they wear down. Get this done before your trip to avoid a problem on the road.

5. Inspect the belts and hoses

Check your belts by pushing down on them. There shouldn’t be much give to them. If they’re slack, or if any of the teeth come loose, you’ll need to get them fixed before hitting the road. Check your hoses for cracks or fraying. Additionally, be on the lookout for any fluid leaks. Issues with any of these things means your car needs maintenance before your road trip.

6. Fluids and filters

Top off all your fluids before you leave. This includes antifreeze, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield fluid. You’ll also want to get your oil changed if you’re due. The engine and cabin air filters should be replaced annually. If you’re not sure the last time this was done, you might want to do this before a long car trip. Your air filters affect fuel economy, engine performance, and air quality.

There are so many unknowns this year with holiday travel. The last thing anyone wants to deal with over Thanksgiving is an auto emergency. Make sure your travel plans go off without a hitch by preparing your car before you leave. Do you need your car checked out before the holidays? It’s not too late. Our experienced technicians at Parents Autocare are here to help. Give us a call at (612) 827-3838 to schedule your appointment today.