5 Critical Car Checks To Do Before Your Next Family Road Trip

Planning a family road trip? Hold on! Before you pack the kids in the car, check these five things to keep your family safe. Road trips can take a serious toll on your vehicle, so it’s important to make sure your car is in tip-top shape before you leave. In this video, we interview Sal Rubino, Fixed Operations Director at BMW of Manhattan, about the five most important things to check on your car before a road trip.

1. Make sure your tires are ready

One of the first things you want to do is check your tire pressure. Now, I know what some of you are thinking. That my car has a tire pressure monitor system that tells me when the pressures are off. Which is true, however, there is an acceptable variance within that tire pressure monitor system. And, you just want to make sure you’re not at the low end of the threshold. Another thing checking your tire pressures does is it allows you the opportunity to visually inspect your tires for bubbles, or tears, or something like that. Because, those won’t generally register on the tire pressure monitor system. Another thing you want to do is you want to check your tire tread depth gauge. Tread depth is very important. You want to have enough there so that the car can stop when it’s supposed to, and that it’s also safe in wet conditions.

2. Check your wheel alignment

We had one customer that came into the dealership with brand new tires, decided not to do an alignment, went on a long road trip, by the time the customer was back the tires were completely bald. This obviously is unsafe, especially in wet conditions, but also, it affects the vehicle handling.

3. Make sure all your lights work

The first thing you do is your turn the vehicle on. Make sure its in park. Turn on your headlights, and make sure that they’re working. Operate your high-beams, make sure those are working, and then check your turn signals. An easy way to do this, instead of using the stock, is you can turn on your hazard lights, and this will turn all the turn signals on at once. So, you can just walk around the vehicle and make sure they’re all working. The next thing you want to do is check your break lights. Again, make sure the vehicle is in park, the engine is off, so that somebody can safely go behind the car and visually inspect the break lights for you. Step on the break pedal.

4. Check your wipers and windshield

The first thing you should do is check your wiper blades. So, what you want to do is lift your wiper blades off the windshield, visually inspect them, make sure that they’re not torn, or dry-rotted, or dirty. If they’re physically in good shape, but are a little dirty, you can wipe them down with a wet paper towel. Another thing you want to do is check the windshield itself. Any small chips or cracks can turn into larger cracks over the course of a long road trip.

5. Make sure your seat belts work

The first thing you want to do is take the seat belt strap and give it a quick snap. The seat belt should stop your hand. If it does not, you should definitely get this checked out at a dealership. Another thing you want to do is check the seat belt buckle itself. This is common to those of us with children. Children will eat and drink in the back seat. What winds up happening is they will pour sugary drinks down the seat belt buckles. What happens is, these seat belt buckles, over time, will start to bind because of those sugar drinks that were poured down there. So, generally what you want to do is inspect those buckles to make sure they’re operating correctly, and they don’t bind, and they work when you need them to.

This post is sponsored ad content, paid for by BMW of Manhattan.

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About BMW of Manhattan

BMW of ManhattanBMW of Manhattan, Inc. is New York City's premiere BMW Center. Our state of the art facility, located in The BMW Building at 555 West 57th Street and 11th Avenue -right off the West Side Highway- offers full Sales, Service and Parts for New and Certified Pre Owned BMWs, BMW Motorcycles, and MINI Coopers. In 2005, BMW of Manhattan opened a Certified Pre Owned Center on 11th Avenue between 55th and 56th Street. For the ultimate experience, make it Manhattan.

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