Labor Day was borne well over a century ago, out of a long struggle between poorly-paid workers and their employers. For modern folks, the Labor Day holiday signals the opportunity to enjoy a final balmy weekend away before the colder season sets in.
Millions of Americans have made a tradition out of the good-old Labor Day car trip. Something sure to cast an immediate dampener on any roadie, though, is car-related trouble. Want to know how you can best prepare your car for Labor Day weekend? Follow the guide below, and your vacation is sure to go off without a splutter.
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The last thing you want to happen on your road trip is the dreaded break-down. The easiest and most reliable way to know that your car’s running as it should is to book it in for a service a few weeks before of Labor Day. After all, the professionals know best, and they’ll inspect your vehicle from top to toe for existing and potential faults.
However, there are also some things you’d be wise to do at home:
Check your oil
Letting your car run dry of oil can cause major damage to your engine. Since long road trips will chew up more oil than your usual commutes, you need to be particularly vigilant about checking whether your car’s oil is at the recommended level (if it doesn’t reach the recommended line on the dipstick, add more).
And while you’re beneath the hood, you might as well check your windscreen water reserve. You don’t want to get caught out without wiper water, especially if you plan to drive over dusty roads near the sea or desert.
Clean your air filter
Though you might not know it, air filters do a lot for a car. They keep the engine running smoothly, and ensure good fuel economy. But like any type of filter, they get blocked easily, hence why it’s a prime idea to get a bucket of soapy water handy and to work out how to remove your vehicle’s air filter for a quick wash. Sorted!
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Do a tire inspection
Before leaving, visit a garage or use your own tyre-pressure gauge to check that your tyres have the recommended PSI. Also make sure that you have a spare in the boot just in case, and if you see any visible cracks or spots of major wear, consider getting a garage to check that things are OK before Labor Day rolls around.
Other proactive measures
Stock the car
If you’re travelling with kids, road trips can either be the best of times, or the worst of times. Aim for the latter by packing smart. Stock the car with plenty of books and comics for the kids to pore over; age-appropriate toys; materials to doodle with; your favourite music playlists downloaded and ready to stream in the car; plenty of healthy and light snacks; motion-sickness tablets; lots of water; diapers and wipes; and so on.
And, of course, don’t forget your regular emergency travel bag, complete with flashlight, jump cables, blankets, comprehensive first aid kit, and water.
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So, you’re all packed up and ready to go: what’s left to do? Swinging into the nearest petrol station to get a full tank of fuel, of course. If your vehicle’s windscreen is so dirty it poses a hazard, this may also be a great time to go through a car wash. A couple of coffees for the grown ups, and you’ll be ready to drive on and enjoy your Labor Day weekend!
Road trips are one of Allison’s favourite ways to explore a new city or country. She especially enjoys driving past perfectly lined trees, old towns and amazing coastal views. To see more of her published work, visit https://allisonhail.tumblr.com/.