With the hurricane season upon us again everyone is preparing go bags and stocking food. But what about your car? Transportation is your vital lifeline. Preparation is key and can make a big impact when survival is on the line.
A pre-trip inspection checklist of basic vehicle components can help prepare for a hurricane evacuation.
If an evacuation order is announced in your area, you will need your vehicle up and running, ready to go in a moment’s notice. Here is a great basic checklist to get you started on getting your car or truck ready.
- Check your tire
- Check the lights
- Top off fluids
- Check Windshield wipers
- Check Car Emergency Go Bag
Check Your Tires
Many tire shops or car dealerships will be happy to do this service free of charge. They will check the overall condition of your car tires and add air to the tires that need it. Don’t forget to air up the spare tire, too. Everything else is important, but tires are vital.
Check Your Car Lights
You will need help with this one. While you are sitting in your driver’s seat with the car running and securely in park, have someone else stand in front of your car and watch as you run-through all of your lights.
- Check the front headlights, then brights.
- Engage left turn signal, then right. Now emergency flashers.
- Again at the rear, engage the left turn signal, then right. And emergency flashers
- Press the brake pedal to check brake lights.
- Then turn on the headlights and check the brake running lights.
Check and Top Off Fluids
Your car needs fluids just like you need water. Check the fluids and add some if it’s low. It’s very important that it is not overfilled.
- Brake fluid
- Radiator coolant
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Power steering fluid
Check your windshield wipers by standing right in front of the door mirror. Then reach towards the tip of the wiper a little past halfway.
- Lift the wiper slowly up and towards you.
- Visually inspect the rubber edge.
- Softly run your fingertips along the edge. If you see or feel any imperfections it’s time to replace the wipers.
- Replace the wipers if they are over a year old.
Your favorite auto parts store will help you find the right size and install them for free. Since windshield wipers should be replaced every year anyway, just make a yearly reminder to get new wipers at the beginning of hurricane season.
If you are not comfortable with getting your hands dirty just bring your car to any mechanic and they will check the basics for you.
Sometimes they will do this for free but expect to pay for the service time for the pre-trip inspection service in addition to the supplies.
Preparing your vehicle for a hurricane is just as important as filling the tank up with gas. Advance Auto Parts helps you Save up to 25 cents per gallon at Shell Stations with the Advance Auto Parts Speed Perks Gas Rewards!
Even a basic pre-trip can help ensure you can evacuate safely. Your car should have its own go bag for its needs. Click here to learn more about assembling a go bag for your car. Remember some things in a go bag have a limited life span and must be replaced accordingly.
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A little preparation goes a long way. When an evacuation is ordered you have so little time to get out of there. It is still very important to take 20 minutes to evaluate your vehicle’s condition for your safety and peace of mind.
It’s even more important to act immediately, not halfway through the trip. A little thing like low tire pressure can cause big problems if the tire has a blowout.
Roadside Assistance and other emergency services will likely be unavailable during an evacuation. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of a road during a natural disaster because you didn’t maintain and prepare your vehicle.