A road trip is one of the best activities to blow off some steam. If life pressures you and the combination of work and family obligations makes you want to burst, one of the easiest and quickest things to do is just hop in the car and drive off into the horizon. Road trips are mostly modular when it comes to the time frame – they can last a day or a month, depending on your will and how well prepared you are. Having stated that, is your car road-trip ready if adventure calls?
Start with a general checkup
First of all, you should probably do the easiest DIY activity in order to prepare your vehicle for the road trip – do a thorough washing of your car. Whether you decide to do this in your own backyard or simply to take your beloved vehicle to the car wash, it’s really practical to do this before the road trip to eliminate all the potential unpleasant smells. This will also lend you a good opportunity to get all the accumulated junk out of your car.
While you are at it, see to it that all the air filters are clear of debris and dirt. The cleanest roads have a dust factor that needs to be accounted for, so air filters can reach their capacity faster than we often think. This will also eliminate the unpleasant smells and you will kill two birds with one stone – a car cleaning session. Prioritize the filters which can be detached and clean the other ones carefully – gunk will not only turn your car stuffy, it can also compromise your car engine.
After this, you should definitely do a thorough general checkup of the car. Focus on your brakes first and see if they have been worn too thin to work properly. There is actually a very easy practical way to check the integrity of your brake pads – by simply driving a car, once you push the brake pedal, if you hear the unpleasant screeching sound, it means that your brake pads should be replaced.
Make sure your tyres are in top-notch condition
Tyres are the legs of your car and their condition will make or break your trip. Their state directly influences fuel efficiency, as well as comfort and safety. If your tyres are underinflated you are certainly going to waste gas, so either take them to a professional or see to it that they are inflated yourself. Apart from that, there is such a thing as an overinflated tyre – if they are pumped up too much, the control of the car becomes more difficult, so you should be aware that it’s a balancing act.
Furthermore, you should always have some extra tyres in reserve. Spares should be placed in the trunk of your car, and in order to find the right match efficiently, you can easily look for tyres online. The advent of technology works in our favor and it can surely make our lives easier. Also, every 9,000 to 10,000 kilometers, you should rotate the position of your tyres as it will help their longevity.
Details make all the difference
In order to be absolutely certain that your car is road-trip ready, you have to check all the small things that can seem insignificant. For example, you need to check if all the lights are functioning properly. A burnt-out light bulb can be an express route to additional needless expenditure, as there is always a possibility that policemen will monitor the roads. If they pull you over for a dysfunctional light, the tickets can be really brutal.
Look under the hood for any wear and tear and pay close attention to belts and hoses. Nobody knows your car better than you, so if you have acquired this habit, it shouldn’t be a challenge to pinpoint the weak spots. Squeeze the belts to see if they are tight and check if there are any instances of fluid leaking on the hoses.
Since we have touched on the topic of fluids, you should definitely check if all the important canisters and reservoirs are aptly filled for the road trip. A fuel check goes without saying. Apart from that, see to it that there is enough oil to lubricate the mechanics, and fill up the radiator fluid, brake, power steering and transmission fluid.
It is particularly important to make sure the radiator fluid is filled up if you are going on a road trip during a heat wave as it keeps the engine cool. Brake fluid will protect your brakes from wear and tear and you should have checked that when you did a brake pad inspection. If you want to keep your car clean, you should also check the windshield fluid.
Finally: Don’t overpack!
It’s easy to get carried away when you are packing for the road trip, but you can solve half of your luggage problems if you just pick accommodations that offer a laundry cleaning option. You know you have overpacked if you have to start squeezing travel bags into your back seat. All of your luggage should comfortably fit into the trunk of your car, along with your spare tires.
A road trip is the most relaxed kind of vacation because the organization and schedule all depend on you. You do not have to chase any deadlines or go for fixed prices. However, even the breeziest road trip can be undone if the car is not in mind condition. This is why the only real requirement before embarking is to check every aspect of your car and see if it works properly.