Tips for Appropriately Prepping Your Car for a Road Trip
Few things are as enjoyable as hitting the open road to enjoy a road trip. A little planning can make an already enjoyable activity even better. Following these tips before embarking on your journey helps ensure you have a safe and pleasant trip.
The key to prepping your car for a road trip is ensuring that everything is in safe, working order and that any maintenance is handled before you take off. There are extra things that can further increase the safety and fun of a road trip.
Making Sure Your Car is in Good Working Order
Before taking off on your road trip, a little car maintenance is a good idea. An enjoyable road trip requires a car that will get you to your destination safely. Check out the following things to ensure a roadworthy vehicle:
- Top off all of the fluids in your car. Ensure your oil is changed and full, fill up your tank with gas, ensure your transmission fluid and brake fluid are full, and that your windshield wiper fluid is full and loaded with the appropriate wiper fluid for the weather.
- Check the tire pressure of your tires. Make sure that your tires have the appropriate amount of air. If they are low on air, inflate them to the recommended amount.
- Make sure the tire tread is in good shape. Your car needs tires with good tread to keep you traveling smoothly in the direction you intend to go.
- Check on your spare. Make sure that you have one, that it is in good shape, and that you have the tools to change a flat tire if necessary.
- Not only does your brake fluid need to be topped off, but your brakes must be periodically checked. Have a mechanic check your brake pads and rotors to ensure they are in good shape before taking an extended car trip.
- Make sure your battery is in good working order. Have a mechanic check it and replace it if it is not working well.
- Ensure the car’s lights are all working. This includes headlights, high and low beams, brake lights, and signal lights.
- Windshield wiper blades should be checked before heading out. If they are not working properly, replace them before beginning your trip.
- Have your car serviced. A tune-up will make sure everything is running optimally and will catch any potential problems before they leave you stranded.
Review Your Insurance Policy
The San Diego car accident lawyers at Haffner & Morgan say it is a good idea that you ensure that your insurance is current and that your car has the proper coverage. If you are traveling into an area that is well known for having heavy traffic or dangerous drives, consider increasing the amount of coverage that you carry. A road trip should not cost you money in car repairs or other damages.
Put Together an Emergency Kit
When you are on a road trip, the snacks, the sights, and the playlist might seem like the most important things you can prep for, but packing an emergency kit, while not as much fun, can be an essential addition to your road trip cargo. By planning ahead, you can eliminate some of the trouble you might otherwise face.
A good emergency kit will contain the following items:
- Blankets will keep you warm until help arrives if you are stranded on the road.
- Flashlights with fresh batteries. While we have flashlights on our mobile phones, it is better to have a designated flashlight. This way, you will not drain your phone’s battery if you become stranded.
- Jumper cables would be a lifesaver if your battery were to die.
- Tire pressure gauge to make sure your tires are filled properly so that you get the best fuel efficiency possible. Many vehicles have a setting that will show you your tire pressure. This can be a good alternative to a tire pressure gauge.
- Water is another essential for your emergency kit. It can be used to drink, clean wounds, or wash hands.
- Snacks can stave off “the hangries” while waiting for a car repair or when you are on a long stretch of road with nowhere to grab a bite.
- Roadside flares and reflective triangles can increase your visibility if your car breaks down on the side of a dark road.
- A fully charged portable charger can save your car battery and your phone battery.
- Carry a roll of duct tape. You never know when it will come in handy for a small repair.
- A fire extinguisher is an emergency kit component that you hope never to use. However, they can be helpful if a fire needs to be put out.
- A whistle can be a helpful addition to an emergency kit since they require no power to signal for help. They can be used hands-free and take up hardly any room in the car.
- Car escape tools are another important thing to pack. They will allow you to break a window if your car is submerged. Get one with a seatbelt cutter as well, in case you find yourself unable to get out of the seatbelt after a wreck.
Have a Plan For Your Route
Having a plan before pulling out of your driveway may not be super spontaneous, but it can save you money and time and keep you safer. By having a plan, you can avoid areas that are known to be dangerous places to drive. You can also avoid areas of high crime.
By thinking through a plan before embarking on your trip, you can make sure that someone else knows where you will be traveling and will check in on your periodically. If something were to happen, someone else would know where to look for you. There are apps that can keep others informed about your whereabouts, and it is never a bad idea to use one just so another set of eyes is on your progress and safety.
You can also save money by planning your route ahead of time. Choosing the shortest or most fuel-efficient route will allow you more time and more money to spend on your trip, doing the things you enjoy doing.
Take Extra Care Before the Trip Begins
By spending some time planning for your trip and preparing for possible emergencies, you can enjoy your trip knowing you are prepared and equipped to handle any incident that might come your way. Now that you have the car in good working order, a route planned, and the emergency kit packed, you can focus on the important things, like road trip snacks, a thrilling audiobook, or the perfect playlist.