The holiday season is rife with chaos, stress, joy, and expectation. There are family and friend gatherings, elaborate meals to be planned and made, and endless shopping trips. It’s the end of the year and for most of the country, the outdoors is quiet and muffled with snow. It’s easy to forget about keeping your car maintained and working in good order. However, now is the time to consider what your car will need moving into 2022.
Are You Fully Covered at the Best Price Available?
Generally, people don’t think about insurance unless they absolutely must – or as an afterthought. But, it’s important to remember that it’s there to work for you. Reviewing your existing policy and finding quotes for cheap auto insurance will help you flesh out your needs to reflect any possible changes from the past couple of years. Things like where you park your car at night, aging, traffic violations, and more, could cause rates to increase without you realizing it. Similarly, working from home could give you a break since you are traveling less miles. Start fresh in 2022 with a full comprehension of your coverage and knowledge that you’re getting the best rates possible.
Have There Been Recalls?
While manufacturers attempt to make recalls readily known by sending a postcard or email, sometimes things fall through the cracks. It’s best to periodically check for recalls on either the dealer or manufacturer website to be certain you aren’t driving a vehicle that has a safety issue. Dealerships always perform any repairs due to recalls for free, but remember that the end of the year may also be a busy time for them, so if there’s an issue, call early.
Familiarize Yourself with the Vehicle
There might be a button or two on the dashboard that you’ve never investigated. Now is the time to get out the manual to see what it does. If you’re renting a vehicle for a trip, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the different safety features and driver assist technologies that might not exist in your own car, so you can take full advantage of them.
Get Your Vehicle Serviced
As vehicles age, there are more and more items on the maintenance checklist that need to be completed. Gain a full understanding of when it’s time for belt replacements, tire rotations, coolant flush, and other procedures that will prolong the life of your car and make it safer and more predictable for you to drive. If you’re unsure how to go about it, have your mechanic check the tire tread, battery charge, and oil and other fluid levels.
Add a Safety Kit
While it might not feel especially necessary to stock your car with various useful items, if something goes wrong, you’ll wish you had. Listed below are things that will either come in handy – or be lifesavers – given the nature of the situation.
- Jumper cables
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Cell phone charger
- Extra bottle of windshield wiper fluid
- Emergency coats, towels, blankets
- Paper towels
- Flares and white or orange flags to place on car
- Duct tape (to temporarily repair a hose)
- Drinking water, nonperishable food items
- Maps (in case GPS is not working)
- An extra set of keys
Check the Air Conditioning and Heater
Depending on where you live in the country, traveling in the United States may require you to use either (or both) air conditioning and the heater. The last thing you want is for one of them to fail, as intense temperatures will affect your driving ability, mood, and stamina.
Be Realistic about Your Vehicle’s Abilities
Some people become very attached to their cars, naming them, and taking pride in how many miles they have accumulated over the years. If you’re planning an extensive road trip in 2022, depending on the car, keep in mind that it might be like asking an old horse to trek across a desert. Are you already pushing mileage you never thought you’d see? Are a lot of things going wrong with the car recently? How confident, realistically, are you in its abilities to provide you with a predictable and uneventful trip? If there is any question about this, consider renting a car so you won’t have to worry about what might happen along the way.
Some say that the spring of 2022 will be the time for road trips. Whether you are planning one or not, follow these steps to feel safe and secure on the road.