How to get your car ready for your road trip

Spring has finally arrived, and for some, that means it's time to enjoy a much needed vacation. But before you head out on the road with your best friends, you need to make sure your car is ready for the long haul. Did you know that April is National Car Care Month? Now is the perfect opportunity to show your vehicle some love and give it the much-needed attention you've been putting off for far too long.

It makes sense, though, because why would you bother getting anything done during the winter? You're just going to keep rolling over potholes and road salt until the ice and snow is gone, so what's the point? Well, unfortunately, if you wait too long to fix the damage winter caused, it could result in an unexpected break down on the side of the road. You don't want to spend that hard-earned cash you were saving for your trip on a tow truck, do you?

Don't neglect your car and cross your fingers that it makes it to your spring break destination. Instead, head to the shop and request the following maintenance services to maximize your safety during your road trip.

1. Get rid of that salt
First and foremost, you need to make sure your car drives and looks smooth. That means giving it a good cleaning and making sure all of that leftover salt from the icy roads is completely removed. Nothing screams "I've been neglecting my car" quite like remnants of winter, so show your car some love and get rid of it! Salt doesn't only make your car look dirty, it can also cause your ride's undercarriage some serious damage, according to Angie's List. Consider asking your maintenance man to give the bottom of your car a good clean and polish to get rid of any rust or salt.

"You should get your oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles."

2. Change your oil and fluids
If your car hasn't had its oil changed in a while, now's the perfect time to take care of it. It's recommended that you get an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Your oil isn't the only thing that needs changed, though. Flushing your transmission fluid is important, too, and it could keep you from paying a pretty penny on a damaged transmission, according to the information auto repair shop owner Scott McClure shared with Angie's List.

"It's one of the most neglected services," he says. "It's a very costly repair – between $2,200 and $4,200 – if you have to rebuild or repair [a transmission]."

3. Service your cooling system
If you're heading to a southern state for your spring break road trip, the temperature is bound to raise during your route. You'll probably go from wearing a jacket, to opening the windows and then suddenly finding yourself turning up the air conditioning as high as it lets you. You're not going to be the only one warming up, though. You car needs to stay cool, too, so take the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's advice and get your coolant levels checked. This is a great step to take to make sure your system is running smoothly. You may even want to consider getting it flushed and refilled. This can up the chances that your system is running at its best during your road trip.

Who wants to sit in road trip traffic on a hot day with a broken cooling system? Who wants to sit and wait for a tow truck because the engine overheated?

4. Check your wipers and lighting
They say April showers bring May flowers, so your chances of driving through a rainstorm are more than likely. To maximize your safety while driving through precipitation, the Car Care Council suggested making sure your lighting and wipers are working properly. Worn wiper blades and broken head lights can make driving through rainfall extremely dangerous, so take precautionary measures to make certain everything will run smooth.

5. Inspect your brakes
Angie's List reported that getting your brakes inspected might be the most important maintenance service steps you can take before heading out on a long road trip. Ask your maintenance technician to check the brake pads and rotors for you to ensure your car is safe to drive. If you fail to get them checked, you could find yourself smashed into someone's bumper on your way down to the beach.

Your car needs to be just as ready for this trip as you are, so stop by NJ Auto Auction where our mechanics will make sure your ride is safe enough for your road trip.