6 Best Ways to Prepare Your Car for a Long Trip

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6 Best Ways to Prepare Your Car for a Long Trip

Everyone loves a good road trip. Well, everyone except the person behind the wheel. If you are even a semi-experienced driver, you know that every new roadside attraction you visit and every pleasant moment you spend with your family opens up the possibility for something going horribly wrong with your car and all of you being stuck in the middle of nowhere. It’s the law of large numbers in its finest.

What should you do then – ditch the long-distance road trips altogether? Of course not! Just even out the odds by making your vehicle of choice fail-proof. Let us take a couple of examples of how you can do that.

Research the route

This is not necessarily related to your car but can make your travel faster, safer and more pleasant. Choosing the road with low traffic frequency and a lot of places where you can stop, rest and eventually, perform a quick fix on your car. This removes a lot of stress both from you and your vehicle. Also, knowing which road you are going to take can help you to prepare the car for the conditions you are going to find there. Sunny highways and rainy countryside roads require entirely different adjustments.

Prepare a repair kit

As we already mentioned, road trips often include long sections of road without access to car mechanics. If something goes wrong here, you will be left to your own skills and devices to solve the problem. Well, we can’t do much about skill (you can take a look at this article, though), but we can suggest some of the useful emergency devices you should always have in your trunk:

  • A chain or a thick towing rope
  • Flashlight
  • Electric charger wire
  • Bungee cords
  • Pliers
  • A set of screwdrivers and wrenches
  • A good old hammer

Don’t leave the house without packing spare parts

Of course, all the tools we have mentioned above will suffice to very little if you don’t bring the essential spare parts you can use them on. Now, bringing a replacement for every system that can fail would require a trailer. But, you can make a shortlist of replacements that are known for reliability – the things like batteries, pumps, shock absorbers, and electrical systems. Fortunately, shops like Carparts2u offer quality car parts all in one place, so you won’t have to spend too much time and effort searching for what you need.

Check the essential fluids

Your car is a very intricate mechanism that uses a lot of different fluids to keep its parts cool and well-lubricated. You need to make sure these fluids are in shape and replenished before embarking on any kind of long-distance journey. Some of the usual suspects you should keep an eye on are:

  • Engine oil – Replacement is due if your inspections show you are nearing the manufacturer-recommended interval. 
  • Brake fluid – Brakes experience an incredible amount of stress during long journeys. If the fluid level is low, flush it and do a full-scale replacement.
  • Coolant – Overheated engines are a bane of long-distance trips. Make sure your coolant fluid is safely situated between “minimum” and “maximum” (you can find the indication on the plastic reservoir) and put an end to this problem.
  • Transmission fluid – Keeping transmission system lubricated will make the change of gear smooth and you will do the change of gears countless times during your journey. 

Get electrical systems back in shape

Electrical systems are integral for your vehicle’s performance – the battery keeps the vehicle alive, headlights, taillights, windshield wipers, and other minor systems are keeping your family safe. It is in your best interest to make sure none of them fails when you finally hit the road. When it comes to battery, a good charge will supply the vehicle with enough juice to make a trip until the next stop. Cleaning the terminals that have an integral part in the transmission of power can do you no harm, either. In regard to other electrical systems, you should give them a thorough inspection and pack a couple of replacements (bulbs, fuses, windshield blades, etc.), just in case.

Take care of the tires

Although we tend to give them very little credit, the tires have a tremendous impact on your vehicle’s performance and safety. After all, they are the thing that keeps the car firmly on the ground. So, be sure to check these two things before hitting the road:

Check tire pressure – The recommended tire pressure can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, placard attached to the door edge or the fuel door. From this point on, you only need to find a digital gauge, unscrew the valve cap and press the gauge onto the stem. Check the tread depth – Deeper the threads, better the traction. The recommended tread depth is everything above 4/32 of an inch.

We hope these few tips gave you some general idea of the steps you can take to make your vehicle a better fit for the next road trip. Road trips are something truly wonderful and a great way to spend some quality time with your family. But, they should never come at the expense of their safety. So, roll up your sleeves, and get your four-wheeler back in shape. An amazing adventure is waiting right in front of you.

Derek Lotts

Derek Lotts is a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator and writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and everything related to home improvement.

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