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Getting road trip ready

For many British Columbians, summer means road trip season. Whether you’re exploring beautiful BC, heading to the US, or going to a favourite local camping spot, before firing up the motor make sure that your vehicle is ready for the journey.

BCAA’s automotive experts have seen their share of road trips gone awry – whether it’s being called out for a roadside rescue or making emergency auto repairs at one of BCAA’s six auto service centres. To keep your road trip smooth, here’s what to check before you hit the road:

1. Check what you can see… start with a visual inspection of your vehicle:

  • Windshield wipers: check the condition of the wiper blades.
  • Check for fluid leaks: if you find one, note the colour, type, amount and where it's located under the vehicle.
  • Tires: inspect tires for pressure, wear, cuts, bulges, blisters and uneven wear.
  • Lights: test all interior and exterior lights.
  • General: look for loose mouldings, cracks or stone chips in the windshield, cracked or broken light covers.

See an automotive expert if you have concerns or questions about any of these.

2. Fluids

Your car needs fluids during hot weather just like you do. Check the oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, clutch fluid, power-steering fluid, engine coolant and windshield washer fluid. Carry extra coolant and water containers in your trunk. If you notice your brake fluid is on the low side, book an appointment with an automotive expert – topping up brake fluid could mask a leak.

3. Hoses and belts

Hot weather can do a number on hoses and belts in your engine – especially if they haven’t been maintained or replaced regularly. Pop the hood and check for cracks, nicks, bulges, blistering or other damage on your engine’s hoses and belts. If you notice any softness in the hoses that’s a clear sign they need replacing. Ask an automotive expert for an inspection if you’re not sure.

4. Battery

You wouldn’t want an old battery to mark the end of your road trip. Summer heat is harder on your battery than winter weather. If your battery is getting on in years (car batteries last about four years on average), get it tested and replace it if necessary before you head out.

5. Stay cool

Driving on mountainous roads or crawling in traffic behind an accident can strain hard working engines – especially if you’re loaded down with gear. Have your radiator and air conditioning checked and tuned up.

If you’re heading out in an RV or planning to tow a trailer, check out our tips on how to avoid the most common RV and trailer breakdowns, and learn more about keeping your car in top shape all year ‘round.

BCAA’s Red Seal Certified technicians at all six BCAA Auto Service Centre locations conduct full diagnostic scans on all makes and models of vehicles. Book an appointment with one of our automotive experts at a BCAA Auto Service Centre, where Members get exclusive savings, a free car wash and a two-year warranty.