Preparing for a cross country with your loved ones takes a great amount of effort. Is the food packed? Are there enough activities for the kids to stay occupied during the trip? Will the rest stops be easily accessible along the way? These are a few questions that you should ask yourself before heading out for a cross-country trip. But is this all? What about your Ford that you take you to the other side of the country? Have you thought about it?

Many people forget about tuning their Ford before a cross-country trip and suffer the consequences when their vehicle bails on them. A breakdown far away from home can really slam the brakes on your trip. A few checks of your Ford can reduce the chances of a breakdown. Here, we present a few helpful tips to get your vehicle ready for the trip ahead.

Check the Brakes of Your Ford

Imagine what will happen if the brakes of your Ford go out on an interstate. A fatal accident perhaps -- and your dream vacation will turn into your worst nightmare. Eliminate the chances of such a scenario by checking the condition of your Ford’s brakes before you take your car out. While many other parts of your Ford, like tires and coolants can be replaced while you are on a trip, you won’t be able to fix brake pads if they fail during your trip.

This is why we suggest you inspect your brakes before you pack up everything and head out for a cross-country trip. If you need to replace brake pads, only get OEM (original equipment manufacturer) brake pads for your Ford as there is no guarantee with regards to quality with aftermarket brake pads, and they may fail during your long trip.

Check the Hoses and Belts

Check your Ford’s hoses and belts for wear before you head out for your long trip. Belts that are cracked, cut, degraded or frayed must be replaced. Hoses should be flexible and firm, not squishy and soft. If they have cracks and holes in them, look worn out or feel brittle, then replace them before your cross-country trip.

Check Fluid Levels

Fluids are your Ford’s lifeblood. Transmission oil and engine oil are essential to keep your Ford on the road for a long time. Oil keeps the engine lubricated and also absorbs the heat that your car gives off when it is powered. This helps in keeping the internal parts working properly without overheating. Transmission oil keeps the moving parts in the transmission of your Ford coated to prevent your vehicle from overheating. Therefore, before you head out for a long trip, check the transmission oil and engine oil of your Ford and change them if required.

In addition to transmission oil and engine oil, you must also check the brake fluid, windshield fluid and power steering fluid. If the level of these fluids is low, then fill them up before hitting the road. Also, inspect the blades of your wiper for cracks. If it rains during your road trip and the wipers fail to keep your windshield clear, you could crash your Ford.

Also check your Ford for leaks. Although small leaks aren’t too much of a concern, it is probably best to get your Ford checked by a mechanic before your big trip.

Avoid Overheating

If you are planning to head out for a cross-country trip during hot months of summer or you plan to drive through hilly terrains, make sure that the cooling system of your Ford is working properly. Coolants run through the engine of your Ford to regulate the temperature. If you find that the coolant’s level is below the limit or your car’s cooling system is not working properly, have a mechanic look at the issue and fix it before you head out.

Check the Battery

Visually check the condition of your Ford’s battery. If you spot any cracks, acid leaks or other kind of damage, you must replace the battery. Make sure that the terminals of battery are tight and there is no corrosion. Corroded terminals can cause trouble.

Check the Tires of Your Ford

This is where the rubber meets the road. It is important to check the tires of your Ford before your big trip. During the cold months of winter, snow makes roads icy and slick and if the tires of your vehicle aren’t equipped to handle this kind of weather, driving in these conditions will be extremely dangerous.

Before your cross-country trip, make sure that tires of your Ford are aligned properly, have the right pressure and have the right amount of tread. If you’re concerned about tread, get your tires checked by a mechanic and consider getting new OEM tires for your Ford to make sure that your car grips the road perfectly.

Check the Wires of Your Ford

Electrical system is another component that you must check before hitting the road. Just like our brain sends signals to our body parts through nerves, the car sends signals to its different components such as sensors, locks, sound system and lights through wires. To check the electrical system or wiring system of your Ford, test the controls and switches. This includes checking the brake lights, hazard lights, turn signals, horn and interior lights.

These are all the checks you need to perform on your Ford before heading out for a cross-country trip with your loved ones. The important thing which we must point out here is that if any of your Ford’s parts are not working properly and you need to have them replaced, always purchase OEM Ford parts as a replacement. The reason is that OEM Ford parts are better in quality than aftermarket Ford parts and when you going for a long trip, you can’t take your chances with parts that might fail during the trip.

At Fords Part Center, we can get you the OEM parts for your Ford. Contact us with any questions you have today.