The Ultimate Guide – Prepare Your Car For A Road Trip With These Tips
You have finally saved up the money to take that much needed overseas vacation, but sadly, COVID-19 has ravaged the world around us, making it almost impossible to go abroad. So what are you going to do? Well, why not jump in the car and explore the best of what your country has to offer with a road trip? Road trips are some of the most fun you can have!
Everyone must go on an adventure at least once in their lives – a trip that would make other people dream of all the exotic places it would take them to. With the growing popularity of road trips in this century, more and more people have started to explore their surroundings through this form of travel. If you are planning to go on a road trip in the near future, read on so that you can prepare everything you need and be ready for every little situation that may come up during your trip.
Whether you have a 10-hour road trip or several days to take in your surroundings, it can be a great time to unwind and take your mind off the stresses of life as long as you plan accordingly. If you forget anything, these are some of the 10 things you absolutely must do before embarking on a road trip. Whether travelling around town or past city limits, preparation is always essential to have an enjoyable journey. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of items of must-do’s before your trip, from checking your car to bringing essential things that will help make any road trip more enjoyable.
Under the Hood
There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the side of the road with a car that has stopped working. In driving long distances, the chances of this happening are surprisingly high, so it’s important to prepare for your road trip by checking under the hood.
You should be checking for the essential fluids that keep your car running. To make sure your car is ready for the road trip, you want to be looking out for these fluids:
- Windshield Wiper Fluid
- Brake Fluid
- Transmission Fluid
- Power Steering Fluid
If you don’t feel comfortable checking or looking out for these things, you should have a mechanic or a trained professional inspect your vehicle. It is also a good idea to service your car before leaving on a long road trip. You will be able to resolve any issues with your car before you leave for your trip.
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As well as checking the engine and the under-the-hood goodness, it is also important that you check the outside features of your car before leaving on a long road trip.
Leaving home with underinflated tyres is simply asking for trouble. That means you must inspect your tyres, including tyre pressure and the outside of your tyres, before you leave. Excessive or uneven wear, cuts and other embedded nails in your tyres that could cause any punctures are all things to look out for. It’s also to check your tyre tread, which should not be damaged. These could all lead to a flat tyre, which could leave you stranded on the side of the road. It is also important to check the tyre pressure and ensure it is at the recommended level.
You can also check with your maintenance provider for your vehicle if they offer tyre checks if you aren’t comfortable inspecting these yourself.
Don’t forget to check the spare. It, too, should be in road-ready condition and inflated to the recommended pressure, so it’s ready to go in the event you need it.
A safe trip is a good trip, especially when travelling with friends, family and children. It is a good idea to check the car’s safety features before heading out on your road trip.
Checking the car’s safety mechanisms, such as the seat belt, can make a huge difference in the event of an accident. You want to make sure all the seat belts are in good condition, without any visible rips, cuts or tears. It is also important to check the locking mechanism and lock it into place when pulled with force.
It is a good idea to test drive your car before your trip, being extra vigilant and attentive to the sound and feel of your car. Make notes on the brake pads, ensuring they feel comfortable to use and no grinding or squeaking noises occur when used.
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Lights and Visibility
The lights in and around your car are one of the main ways other drivers on the road can see you. This is especially important during the night and dark hours, where visibility is low. If your road trips do extend into the night or when the sun goes down, you must be visible to the other drivers on the road to avoid any accidents.
You should check your headlights, taillights, indicators and reverse lights to see if they are all functioning properly on all sides of your car. To check, you need to turn on your car, making sure it’s in the park. Then you can switch on your lights and indicators. Walk around the war to see all the lights and whether they are working or not. Make sure you are also testing the lights one at a time, rather than checking all your lights at once.
Can You See The Road?
As much as other drivers need to see you, it’s also just as important that you see them. Your visibility on the road is something you must have to drive safely; that goes without saying!
A clear view of the road, the surroundings and the other drivers on the road is something you cannot go without before going on a road trip. Looking through a windscreen that’s smeared, stained or obscured can be tiring for your concentration and especially unsafe. You can ensure this doesn’t happen by cleaning your windscreen inside and out.
Throughout the journey, in all road conditions, make sure your wipers don’t break or cover your windscreen in any gunk or smears. Inspect the wipers of your car, making sure there aren’t any particles or other things that could stain your glass when you activate them. You can also splash some water on your windshield and turn on your wipers. Remember to top up your windshield washer fluid too.
If you’re going to be in a small space for a long period of time, it needs to be comfortable and clean. It should go without saying, but a clean front and back cabin will make the long ride much more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your passengers.
Taking out all the carpets in your car, vacuuming them and letting them dry in the sun is one of the ways you can give your carpets that fresh feel. While the carpets are out, you can also clean and vacuum the floor of your car. Although it might seem like a small thing, the small particles, dust, and dirt make a huge difference when cleaned out.
Disinfectant wipes to clean your steering wheel, centre console, and any other hard surfaces are a great way to remove any germs that have been festering. Many people overlook this, but when staying in a small area for long periods of time, you want it to be as clean as possible.
Lastly, the air conditioning filter is a must clean. Over time, the filter develops dust and other particles that prevent air from flowing through and provide the perfect breeding ground for germs to grow and spread.
What To Bring?
Packing, whether it’s over-packing or under-packing, can often be a problem. Fitting all things you want to bring with you can be a challenging task.
Carefully pack the essentials with you, making sure to leave them in the boot or trunk space and avoiding crowding the cabin area with luggage. This is to ensure the safety of you and the passengers in the event of an accident.
It is also important the luggage you pack is fit tightly and in a position where it can’t move around. Again, in the event of an accident, these items can end up flying around, causing huge amounts of damage to you and your car. This means everything should be tucked away nicely and tightly fit.
You should also pack some essential tools, such as a tyre repair kit, to use if something goes wrong with your tyres. Bringing coolant, windshield wiper fluid, and any other liquids are also advised, just in case it is needed.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has changed the way we live our lives, and travel is no exception. It’s more important now than ever before to be vigilant with our hygiene and the overall cleanliness of our surroundings.
As such, before you leave the house, make sure you are bringing the COVID essentials, as listed below:
- Hand sanitiser
- Disinfectant wipes
- Face Mask
- Disposable gloves
Plan Your Route
Of course, you’ll be planning where and when you’ll be driving, but there are also some other things to make a note of before taking off on your road trip.
Take the time to review your planned route before you leave. This includes the weather forecast, traffic and the conditions of the roads you will use. While this might seem overboard, these small things can be planned around and cause delays and other inconveniences.
It’s also important to know your driving limits and plan around them. If you are unsure whether you can drive long distances, plan for rest breaks, or even organise a second driver to take turns with. This will ensure that you aren’t pressured to drive when tired or unable to, as this is dangerous.
Planning around break destinations is also quite important, as you want the best place to stop and rest. You could look out for lookouts, petrol or gas stations or restaurants along the way, which will make taking a break more enjoyable and convenient. If you have an electric vehicle, planning your route around chargers is also a good idea.
Most importantly, before embarking on a road trip, you must be prepared to have fun! While road trips can be difficult to plan and prepare for, with a long laundry list of things to do, it is one of the most fun experiences.
Despite the long hours, a road trip is a trip that takes you somewhere new and is the perfect way to get out and explore. It may take you to somewhere you’ve been already, or it could take you to an entirely new place. Either way, the experience of seeing nature and spending time with your favourite people along the way is what road trips are about.