Get Your Car Ready for a Road Trip - Vol.363
Road trips are supposed to be fun, they bring people and families together, and they often inspire moviemakers to tell tales about friendship, love, or life in general. It is, however, important to prepare for them and be ready for any unforeseen scenarios, especially of a mechanical nature. After all, the most unpredictable element of a road trip, apart from the weather, is often your car. It can make or break your trip.
Prevention Is Key
The best way to deal with a problem is not creating it in the first place. This requires a proactive mindset. Ideally, before every medium or long trip, your car should go through a full inspection, even if you had it checked only a couple of months ago. A lot can change in a matter of weeks, and this is not something you want to take a chance on.
The general quality of your car influences your road safety to a great extent, so make sure to cover all your bases, and do a very thorough safety inspection. If you want to do it the right way, a professional is probably the way to go, but there are certainly car enthusiasts out there who can outdo even the best mechanics.
If you are not one of those people, and you take your car to a repair center, it's good to have a plan. The checkup should include a fluid check and the inspection of the wipers, the battery (along with the cables), the brakes (they should be at least 50%), the shocks and springs, the lights, the tires, and of course, the soul of the car, the engine.
If everything works as it's supposed to, your car should be ready for the trip. Conversely, if it turns out that there is a problem, you should always take care of it first, even if it raises your total costs. After all, you can't put a price on safety.
You Can Do It Yourself, But Make Sure You Do It Right
Again, if you don't want to bring your car to a mechanic, that's fine. Do a thorough checkup yourself. At the very least, check the tires and the engine. Make sure that they are in good order, and that there are no signs of damage. The tire pressure should be just right. If they are overinflated, deflate them a little, and vice-versa. If you want to be thorough, you can check the coolant and flush the radiator, especially if you haven't done it in a while. The fuses and the horn, as well as the heater and AC, should all be inspected, especially if you have to prepare for extreme heat or cold.
Good Conditions Don't Guarantee Flawless Operation
Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst is a good state of mind before a road trip. Even if you paid good money to round your car into the best possible shape, it's still not a guarantee that the trip won't involve any car troubles. Bring a survival kit with yourself that has a flashlight, a blanket, some new batteries, water for a couple of days, and nutritious, energy-rich food. Nuts are perfect because they are full of good nutrients, don't take up a lot of space, and contain large amount of calories.
You should also have your car's warranty and insurance with you, and an emergency contact or two saved in your phone. Lastly, bring another set of keys to your car, in case something happens to the original set.
Road trips should be about having a good time with your friends and family, and taking in the scenery. Your car should enhance that experience, not take away from it, and so make sure that it is ready for the road trip.