How to Prepare Your Vehicle for a Long Road Trip
Photo by Zach Dischner.
If you are planning a trip with friends or family you will probably want to avoid as many unpleasant surprises on the road as possible. Having a lack of experience shouldn’t be an obstacle for safe and trouble-free driving on a long journey. On today’s modern cars the driver does not have a lot of interventions that could affect the technical support and the overall safety.
We assume that the car has been regularly serviced and if this is the case you shouldn’t have a lot of problems. However, if the car is not maintained regularly it is recommended to take your car to a mechanic inspection. Regardless of which brand and model of the car you have almost every car service offer free technical inspection of the car. The mechanic will describe the condition in detail and warn you about the things that cannot wait. If you are uncertain about your driving skills you may want to consider a driving course for safety driving.
This should help you solve the biggest problems that you are concerned about. However, there are actions that you can perform by yourself so here are some instructions on how to prepare for a long trip.
Make a list:
1. Have a plan
Waving around with the map on the road can ruin the trip and this is why you should make a road plan before you set off. You can look up some routes on various search engines which can give you some heads up about the work on the road. Of course, the simplest way to go is by GPS and other portable satellite navigation devices that will make your trip safer and more reliable.
2. Prepare your tires
Additional weight due to more passengers and baggage will affect the tire pressure so bring a spare tire. Worn tires are dangerous on wet or very hot surfaces so check them at least every two weeks. It is important that the measuring device is suitable for measuring the pressure. The amount of pressure that you may inflate in your tires can be read from the instruction booklet or on the inside of the fuel cap.
3. Bolts and nuts
Familiarize yourself with the basic tools for your car. You can locate the crane and the wrench for nuts in the owner’s manual.
4. Stay cool
Check under the hood before you go in order to avoid the overheating of the engine. Fill the liquid level only when the engine is cold. Each driver can check the level of the oil by reading it on the dipstick. The level of oil should be between the minimum and maximum mark. Check the level of fluid in the brakes and engine coolant level. Both fluids must also be between the minimum and maximum marks on the containers. And finally check the level of the liquid for a quick windshield wash by filling the container to the top.
5. Eyes on the road
Damaged windshield wipers and lights pose a threat by reducing visibility. Check your lights, turn signals, brake signals and fog lights at least twice a day. Wipers should be replaced at least once a year otherwise they will only smear the glass and reduce visibility.
Take a break every two hours and stretch your legs. Drink enough fluids to help you stay awake and concentrated during the trip.
7. Don’t go overboard with the air conditioner
These days every car has air conditioning that should be set to a relative temperature with the outside. Otherwise it can cause a heat shock to our organism which can bring problems to our health.
8. Are we there yet?
If you are planning a trip with your children consider driving at night when it is more likely they will fall asleep. Bring something that will distract their thoughts from the road, for example a book, a game or other modern gadgets.