Thinking about a road trip? How to get back behind the wheel safely
As the nation navigates a safe and socially distant return to work and travel, states are loosening restrictions on stay-at-home orders. As your car may have been relatively idle over the last few months, the following tips can help ensure your vehicle is ready when you are.
Whether you’re headed back to work, road-tripping to a state park, or simply making a grocery store run, thoughtful preparation can help you successfully navigate a safe transition back to the roads.
Maintain and repair: Give your car a thorough basic inspection
Even if your vehicle hasn’t been getting as much use for a few months, it’s important to continue to conduct regular checks. Batteries can drain, tires can lose pressure and worse.
- Battery maintenance: Make sure your car battery is free of dirt and corrosion with a simple visual inspection. If it’s looking worse for the wear, check your driver’s manual for how to remove the battery and have a local auto parts store check its charge. Of all simple car repairs, a battery replacement is perhaps the easiest.
- Air pressure and tire tread: Consult your driver’s manual, then ensure your tires are in the right PSI range (typically 30-35) by checking their inflation with a tire pressure gauge. While checking your tire pressure, you should also evaluate the tread on your tires. This is easy to do by sticking a penny in the tread gaps with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the head is fully visible, it’s safe to say that you need new tires.
- Motor oil: With minimal use of your car over the last few months, it’s a great time to consider changing your motor oil. It is a best practice to change your oil and oil filter as specified in your owner’s manual. If you’re still using conventional oil, consider switching to a synthetic motor oil such as Mobil 1 motor oil. Synthetic motor oil offers improved wear protection and low/high temperature performance over conventional motor oils, particularly in modern turbocharged engines.
Try to reduce surface contact at the pump
For customers filling up their vehicles, many service stations are sanitizing surfaces and pump handles more frequently and encouraging the use of contactless payment.
- Use mobile payment apps: Consider an option like the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ app to reduce contact with the pin pad, while also keeping your credit card information private and secure. A bonus of using the mobile app — you’ll also earn rewards points to redeem on gas and convenience store purchases.
- Gloves, paper towels and sanitizers: For actual pump handle contact, a disposable glove or even one of the paper towels next to the squeegee can be used when holding the pump nozzle. Beyond that, always carry hand sanitizer in your glove box.
As you return to the roads, conduct thorough vehicle checks and take proactive measures at the pump to ensure a smooth and safe driving experience.