Planning for a road trip, especially if it’s your first time, can be an exciting process, from organizing your itinerary, choosing the activities, to booking your accommodation. But all those preparations will be for naught if you cannot rely on your car for an epic adventure. Think about it: you’ve been planning and looking forward to months for that road trip, and then your car breaks down. Frustrating, right?
Whether you’re going on a road trip with your family or friends, carrying out smart car preparations before you hit the road can save the day. To help you get the most of your experience, we’ve listed some of our favorite car care and road trip tips.
Don’t skip maintenance
Road trip aside, a responsible car owner knows that regular vehicle upkeep should not be ignored. A car is made up of numerous small and big parts that should be maintained regularly. Before heading out for a long road trip, check your vehicle’s air filters first: the cabin and engine air filters. These two types need to be regularly replaced to ensure that the incoming air to the engine and the passenger compartment is debris-free and sufficient. The rule of thumb is to replace the filters at least once a year in every 10,000 to 15,000 miles.
One smart move to make maintenance easier for you is to invest in a car ceramic coating. This solution can protect your car’s exterior from paint damage. It offers protection from chemical stains, harmful UV rays, and water-based dirt. Aside from your car’s filters and bodywork, its lights also require attention. Check for any burnt-out blinker, taillight, or headlight, and replace if needed. Don’t forget to also check bulbs inside the cabin.
Check your fluids
If you want to have a smooth summer road trip, pay attention to your car’s fluids too. They are the lifeblood of your car. Almost every modern vehicle today utilizes varieties of specialized fluids crucial for the longevity and performance of the car. Depending on your car and the owner’s manual, transmission fluid typically has up to 100,000 miles of service interval before it needs replacement.
Another important fluid to check is the one is your brake system. Brake fluids can reduce the car’s performance if they’re contaminated. Generally, service is required for every 24,000 miles or as outlined in your manual. You should check other components: the power steering fluid, engine oil, windshield wiper fluid, and radiator fluid.
Clean the vehicle
If you’re going on a long road trip, tidying up the car in and out should be done. Check the floor mats, dashboard controls, seats, and storage areas and make sure they’re not filled with dirt or grime. Remove any excess baggage inside the car that just adds extra weight. For the exterior, don’t let bugs or bird poop sit on your car’s surface for too long, as these can eat the paint out. If your car hasn’t been cleaned for weeks and you have no time to do the work, bringing it to a shop for a complete car wash would be better.
Pack for safety
Regardless of how much preparation you’ve done for your car, the road can throw out unexpected troubles when you least expect it. That’s normal. For such reason, it’s always best that you pack for safety. Depending on the location and season, the things you’ll need will be different.
In general, you need to have at least two flashlights (one must be a headlamp), road flares, a set of jumper cables, spare batteries, multitool, and non-perishable food and water. Aside from a car charger, you’d also want to have a portable USB power pack for your gadgets or phones in case your vehicle’s electrical system goes out. You’d also need a complete first aid kit just to be prepared for any minor accident.
Make sure to fit and pack everything in your car securely. Instead of packing your luggage in the cabin, place it in the boot to avoid further hazards in case of a crash. If you drive a wagon or vehicle without a boot, use a net to restrain the luggage.
Hitting the road with your car in great shape is the key to having the best road trip adventure. You don’t have to worry about heading out on rough routes, having a flat tire, or running into other road-related trips. For our last quick tip, don’t attempt to perform any fixes on your vehicle if you’re not skilled or knowledgeable. Doing so will put your safety at risk and result in more serious and expensive car issues. Call on your trusted car technicians or experts and let them handle the work.