Planning a driving vacation? How to make sure your car is ready for summer travels

ThinkLake Forest pre-inspection car summer travel about your checklist for your last family vacation. Clothes for any weather you might encounter, check.  Enough snacks to survive a zombie apocalypse, check.  Programmed your GPS and took your dog to the kennel, check. But did you check your vehicle to make sure it was ready for the long haul from Lake Forest to your summer destination?

Pre-trip inspections help reduce the risk of being stuck on the side of the road, trying to keep your kids safe and entertained while you wait for a tow truck. In addition to the time lost and the stress gained, breaking down while away from home can be a very costly situation.

After one of the longest, harshest winters on record, it’s smart to make sure your car is ready for summer and any family driving vacations that lie ahead. Whether you’re heading to The Dells or Disney, make sure a pre-trip inspection is on your pre-trip checklist. The best time to schedule a trip check is a week or two before you leave. Here’s why:

  1. You want to make sure there’s enough time to complete any necessary repairs. If your car needs a major auto repair, you don’t want to have to delay your trip or rent a car. While most repairs can be completed in a day or two, some major repairs, such as replacing the transmission or head gasket, take several days to complete. And even on minor to mid-sized auto repairs, you want to leave a little wiggle room just in case there are any parts delays or other complications.
  2. You want a few days to drive the vehicle locally after the repairs. Occasionally, mistakes are made or parts fail (no matter how high quality they are). And it might take a few days to be confident that some problems, especially ones that had been occurring only occasionally, have been diagnosed and repaired properly. It’s smart to leave time to drive your car around town in Lake Forest before your trip, just to make sure those new brakes are stopping smoothly or those new tires are balanced properly.
  3. You’ll be sure to get an appointment. Scheduling an appointment a week or two before your trip will ensure that you can schedule at a time that’s convenient for you and that it doesn’t become part of your last-minute, pre-trip preparation frenzy. And if you’re planning to travel during a peak holiday, such as July 4th, remember that there are going to be many other motorists vying for those last-minute appointments leading up to the holiday.

When you bring your car to Auto Lab, our ASE-Certified Technicians will ensure the following are ready for the trip ahead:

  • 4WD
  • A/C & heating;
  • Battery;
  • Belts & hoses;
  • Brakes;
  • Exhaust system;
  • Fluid levels & condition—Including looking for leaks;
  • Lights, wipers and horn;
  • Suspension & steering;
  • Tire tread and condition.

Schedule online or call us at 847-367-4488. We’ll make sure your car is ready for summer trips to the ballpark, weekend outings and even a cross-country family vacation.


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