If you are like many Americans, you love the scenic treats of nature that are all around us. The U.S. is full of relatively untainted nature preserves sitting just a few minutes away from all the conveniences of civilization. The warm weather invites travelers to take those road trips to national parks because they can stay overnight in most of them for free if they have an RV or bring their own tent. Experiencing nature up close and personal without having to pay huge resort fees leaves a lot of extra room in your vacation budget for driving around comfortably. You can ensure that your car is running in peak condition by considering the various aspects of roadworthiness discussed below.
#1: Tires and Alignment
If you are going to be driving long distances on the highways, it always helps to have a quality set of relatively new tires. Tires that are more than 5 years old or sold at bargain prices online make the ride risky and harsh. A quality set of new tires will be like safely riding on a cloud to any destination because they cushion so much of the road vibrations. Of course, it is critical to keep your tires properly inflated to ensure optimal treadwear, gas mileage, and handling. If your vehicle doesn’t track straight when you let your hands off the wheel or you notice uneven wear, these are all signs that you need to bring it in for service before setting sail.
#2: Oil Quality
Now that the warm weather is approaching, you will greatly benefit from a heavier oil that provides more engine protection at higher temperatures. Because the higher numbers in an engine oil weight describe higher viscosity, you want to run a full synthetic oil like Mobil 1 that is rated anywhere from a 15w-30 up to a 10w-50. Investing in a high-quality full synthetic oil and OEM-style oil filter with a bypass valve will make any long miles that you put on that engine as gentle as silk.
#3: Air Filter Upgrade
Installing a performance air filter in your vehicle may be just the trick to make that road trip a little more interesting. You’ll be fascinated with how something so inexpensive and small can greatly improve throttle response. Whether you opt for a cold intake system or a simple high-flow cleanable air filter, you will be happy with the results and glad that you made the upgrade. Being able to push the pedal and knowing that there is still plenty of pedal left can help you merge confidently in congested traffic situations.
#4: Brake Systems
Being able to stop on a dime is a critical part of navigating new areas. Even though you won’t be facing ice and winter weather conditions, the new roads and new traffic patterns that you encounter make stopping power critical. The majority of accidents that occur have something to do with speeding, tires, weather, alcohol, and/or bad brakes. It is easy to see how bad brakes can cause an accident even if you are paying attention.
Your brake system can suffer severe performance issues if the fluid hasn’t been changed in the last two years or from something as simple as a leaky vacuum hose in the engine bay. A leaky vacuum hose or seal affects braking power dramatically because vacuum boosters are installed in most power brake systems.
Various vacuum-powered systems are powered by the suction naturally created by your engine. The vacuum is inherently created during the combustion process when the airtight pistons drop down and create negative air pressure.
A lot of late-model vehicles have brake wear indicators. These indicators will emit acoustic vibrations when the brakes are worn severely and require replacement.
One symptom that many drivers suffer from, however, is warped rotors. Warped rotors will cause your steering rack and mechanical steering wheels to vibrate when you apply the brakes. Accordingly, if you feel a lot of front-end vibration when you brake at high speeds, you likely have warped rotors. This can happen even if you have brand new rotors and pads because unprofessional mechanics at some repair shops will not torque lug nuts properly, which causes them to warp and wear out prematurely.