It is estimated that almost 100 million Americans go on a road trip of at least 50 miles. That’s 25 percent of the population. However, a significant portion of these people will hit the road unprepared, and as a result, run across problems they could have avoided.
If you are thinking about hitting the road, then it’s important that you take the time to adequately prepare. Below are some tips that will help you with your road trip preparations.
1. Hoses and Belts
One of the first things that you want to check are all of the hoses and belts. Old or worn hoses can suddenly develop a leak, causing your car to unexpectedly break down. Thoroughly inspect the hoses and make sure they aren’t soft, an indicator that they might be ready to fail.
The same thing goes for belts. Check the belts and make sure that they are tight and don’t have cracks or excessive wear. If they do, replace them.
2. Vehicle Fluids And Filters
You also need to check all of your car’s fluids. These fluids include oil, radiator fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid and power steering fluid. Of course, you will also want to make sure your vehicle has gasoline in it as well.
You should also make sure that the gas filter and oil filter are not too old. If the gas filter hasn’t been changed in a year or if the oil hasn’t been changed in 3,000 miles, then you should probably put new filters into your car.
Also make sure that you check the air filter. If you can’t see light through it or if it has more than 10,000 miles on it since it’s been changed, then now is a good time to change it.
It is an absolute necessity to check your tires before any road trip. You should make sure that the tread depth is adequate to provide you with the traction you need and that the tires are properly inflated. Over inflated or under-inflated tires present a significant safety risk and can fail at any time.
Make sure that your battery is in good condition and holds a charge. The battery contacts should also be checked that they are clean and that the battery cables make a good connection.
If you suspect your battery might not be up to the task, then now is a good time to replace it. You might also want to go through the electrical system to make sure that the alternator is in good working condition.
5. Lights and Wipers
Go through and make sure that the headlights, interior lights, brake lights and turn signals are all working correctly. Also make sure you check the wipers and make sure they are doing their job. If they aren’t, then you might have to replace the blades.
Brakes are one of the most important safety systems on your vehicle, so you should make sure that they are in good condition. If necessary, have the braking system checked by a qualified mechanic.
7. Plates, Tags and Registration
Make sure that your safety inspection, registration and tags are all up to date. The last thing you want is to have any of these expire while you are on the road, resulting in unnecessary traffic stops or tickets.
Now that you have gone through the basic systems of your vehicle and have ensured that they are in good working condition, now is the time to pack things you will need for the trip. Make sure you pack the essentials, but be sure that you don’t overload the car beyond it’s recommended load rating. Here are some things you should take with you:
- Map Or GPS
- Vehicle Manual
- Mobile Phone
- Well Stocked First Aid Kit
- Spare Tire
- Jumper Cables
- Basic toolbox (screwdrivers, wrenches and a hammer)
- Extra Oil and Engine Coolant
- Extra Car Fuses
- Entertainment (music, etc.)
Following these tips will ensure that your car remains in good running condition for your road trip and you are prepared for any problems that might arise. Now you can relax and enjoy the pleasures of the open road.
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