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Planning for a road trip should be exciting, but certain aspects like choosing a destination, booking accommodation, and getting your car ready for the journey can be overwhelming. However, with proper and adequate planning, the results can be superb. Read on to learn everything you need to know to ensure that both you and your vehicle are ready for the road.
Table of Contents
Map Your Route
First and foremost, you must research your destination and map your route before leaving your home. Do some research to choose the best place that suits the needs of everyone who’ll be taking part in the trip. Make sure you take some time to familiarize yourself with the route you will take.
Stay up to date with different elements on the road that you intend to use such as traffic issues and other conditions that can affect movement like the weather. It is a good idea to have an alternative road in mind that can be utilized in the event of unforeseen events.
Pack Your Road Survival Kit
You need to pack a road survival kit consisting of a rechargeable battery pack, spare phone, emergency tools like pliers, screwdrivers, and a flashlight. It is essential to include medical kits, warning cones, and fire extinguishers to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
Check Your Tire Tread
Your tire tread provides traction and gives your car balance to enhance safety. When it is raining, or you are driving on a slippery road, you can lose control of the vehicle if your tire treads are worn out. Extra care is required since tires are the only components of an automobile that will come into constant contact with the surface.
All the tires must be correctly inflated according to the specifications found on the label attached below the driver’s door locking system. It is a good idea to check air pressure before setting out for your trip. You must check all tires after every 1000 miles. If you are carrying a heavy load or towing a trailer, you must have an air pressure gauge and check your wheels at every stop.
Wheel balancing is another crucial step in ensuring that all wheels are configured correctly. The tires on the wheels that drive the vehicle tend to wear more quickly, so you must rotate them after about 5000 miles. Before you set up for your journey, make sure you have inspected your tires for observable damages like gouges, bulges, and other defects that can pose danger.
When you travel on public roads, you should ensure your vehicle has appropriate labels or safety stickers. Stickers provide essential information like the company’s name or logo. Some of these details are required for the entire lifespan of the vehicle. When undertaking a long trip by road, you can use the opportunity to advertise your company or business.
You can utilize the services of a Bumper Sticker Maker to brand your business. These customizable vinyl stickers are ideal for outdoor use. You can place them on cars, and they are perfect for company imaging.
Don’t Overload Your vehicle
One of the most important things you should know about your car is that it comes with a maximum weight capacity. Never exceed that maximum capacity indicated on your car so as to avoid putting your safety at risk. When your vehicle is overloaded, it becomes difficult to steer, and it will be less stable on the highway.
Furthermore, overloaded vehicles may take longer to stop and are often sluggish on the road. These are just a few of the things you should know about the effects of your automobile’s maximum weight capacity before undertaking your trip.
Check Your Vehicle’s Fluids
Your vehicle contains different types of fluids, and these are designed to ensure that you can enjoy your road trip without a hitch. Motor oil is your engine’s lifeblood although modern cars use a variety of specialized fluids critical for longevity and functionality. Most vehicles require an oil change after an interval of about 10,000 miles depending on the manufacturer.
However, the oil can become depleted over time, so you should check it every 3000 miles. Overconsumption of oil can indicate more serious problems, so you should ensure that your car is in good running condition.
- Transmission Fluid: if your car has a traditional dipstick, make sure you check the fluid regularly and follow the manufacturer’s instructions if you want to change it. Old fluid can gather dust and debris that will affect the vehicle’s transmission and performance. For automatic transmission, you should consult a professional to check your vehicle. However, modern vehicles come with sealed transmissions that are not easy to check. If there are no leaks and the car is still performing well, there might be no reason to bother yourself with transmission issues.
- Power steering fluid: many vehicles use hydraulic power steering systems that require special fluid. However, the fluid can be contaminated over time, and this can affect performance or cause damage to other components. Therefore, check the fluid regularly since the reservoir is located in a place that is easily accessible.
- Brake fluid: different types of braking systems for vehicles use brake fluid to create hydraulic pressure that pushes the pads to stop the rotating wheels. However, brake lines can get damaged and lose the fluid, or air can accumulate inside. Make sure your vehicle gets service to bleed your lines should you suspect anything fishy. Brake fluid can also absorb moisture and gets contaminated over time which will adversely impact the performance of your vehicle. Brake service must be done according to the manufacturer’s manual. Your dealer should advise you on the right course of action to take before you tamper with this system that can be sensitive.
- Coolant: This special fluid is also known as antifreeze, and it is as critical as motor oil. Its purpose is to help the engine maintain the optimum temperature in winter and keep it down in summer for excellent performance. If your car has low coolant, it can overheat in hot weather. Most cars have transparent overflow tanks that help you check the level of coolant before you travel long distances. However, you should be careful when you check your coolant, and you should never do it when the engine is still hot.
- Wiper fluid: whether you plan your trip in summer or any season, make sure your vehicle has enough windshield fluid and the wipers are functioning well. When the weather is obscure as a result of light showers, you can use your wipers to clear the screen. Bugs can also smash into your windshield, and you can use your washer and wipers to clear the residue.
Check Your Battery
The worst thing that could ever happen is to have your battery draining out on your way. Checking your battery is easier since most problems can be caused by loose or dirty terminals. If there is a loose connection, fix it and check if the problem persists. You can buy a new battery if the old one has exceeded three years.
Stick With Your Routine Maintenance
You must have a tune-up before you embark on your road trip. For instance, changing plugs plays a critical role in lowering emissions, improving performance, and fuel economy as well as making the engine easier to start. The vehicle’s air filters should be replaced regularly to enhance performance. Cabin filters and engine air filters must be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Modern vehicles now come with a single ribbed belt that can turn the alternator, water pump, air conditioning compressor, and other accessories. If your car has more than one belt, you need to check them for cracks or other signs of wearing out.
If your belt snaps while you are out on a road trip, your car may not drive since it will overheat and lose the power generation required by other accessories. You also need to perform a quick check on your hoses for signs of leakages or any other damage.
Your car must have a proper lighting system that must be checked before the trip. While headlights provide lighting for night driving, there are several bulbs inside the cabin and outside the vehicle that need regular checking and replacement.
It can be frustrating to realize that a bulb has burned out when you want to use it. The good thing is that most bulbs are easy to replace, and you don’t need any special knowledge to perform the task.
When you have checked everything, make sure you wash your vehicle. It feels good to drive a clean car, and the interior should be free of clutter. Clean the windshields and windows for improved visibility. Keeping elements like dust at bay is essential to optimal visibility.
A road trip by car can be exciting since it gives you exposure to different places and allows you to meet new people. To enjoy the experience to the fullest, you must properly plan for your journey. More importantly, make sure your vehicle is ready for the road. These tips can help you get started in preparing for your next adventure.