Sleeping in the bed of the truck

We're a family of many miles. About 20,000 or so per year on each car. We love to travel and travel far over many types of roads. Chelsea and I fell in love with the journey while we were dating and took our first trip together to the Grand Canyon. The ability to take off and go explore is part of what makes us feel so free.

This also means paying attention to things that wear with mileage and run out with time. Things that not only have to do with comfort but also with safety.

Here are the car maintenance items you're likely to forget:

car in dust storm

One of my bigger pet peeves with our cars that is overlooked and needs to be replaced over time is windshield wiper fluid. When you round the corner of a hill or mountain just after sun up or just before sundown and you have a dirty window, suddenly your windshield becomes a glowing light shield blocking your view of just about anything. All easily fixed by remembering to top off your wiper fluid.

People make their own luck... quote

When something does pop out in front of you, you will want to make sure you can safely stop. The primary line of defense for this is your brakes. Once, while in college, Chelsea was driving her first car (a black 1992 Cadilac STS) down from Big Bear and suddenly, her brakes no longer worked. No matter how hard she pressed down on the pedal, slower her car did not go. Fortunately she was able to maintain the vehicle at speed until she got to a flatter portion of the road and employed the emergency brake to bring herself to a stop.

Ford F-350 Super Duty Lariat Extended Cab

Another important factor to pay attention to is the suspension of a vehicle. When taking on a windy hill like an Olympic slalom champion, you want to make sure your car doesn't rock back and forth like a row boat on the high sea. You also want to make sure it doesn't buck like a bronco when going over rough and poorly maintained roads. This is why – especially when nearing 50,000 miles on your car – Monroe Shocks and Struts recommends getting your suspension inspected by a professional. At the very least, an inspection will let you know where you're at as far as necessary maintenance.

Shocks are an important part of keeping your wheels firmly on the ground. I always thought they were the part that made your car squishy on bumps but it turns out they are the component that pushes your wheel right back onto the ground. They do also help dampen any impacts along the way, while making sure your car (or truck) stays nice and balanced. Because they help your car stay balanced, they also help maintain good and even tire wear.

Car maintenance - tires

Which brings us to the final car maintenance point: having your tires rotated on a regular basis. Once your shocks keep your wheels firmly on the ground, you want to make sure that very same wheel has the ability to grip the pavement or earth to the best of its ability. An unevenly worn or balding tire could spell disaster in a suddenly slick situation. In southern California, this could be as simple as dense fog leaving moisture on the roadway early in the morning while everyone is in a hurry.

Car maintenance - keeping the sleeping kiddos safe

It's not hard to do and there are many places that can accommodate these simple inspections all in one stop. Usually, the inspections take as little as 45 minutes. That's 45 minutes that could help you prevent a lot of expense in the future when you least expect it. More importantly, it can help you prevent an accident you could never live with.

This post brought to you by Monroe® Shocks and Struts. All opinions are 100% mine.