How to Prepare your Car for a Long Road Trip
December 12, 2013 5:36 PM
A road trip allows you to experience the freedom of the open road, and the spontaneity of stopping as you please. With this in mind, you don't want to over-plan. However, there are a few areas where it's worth putting in some time and preparation. One of these is ensuring that your car is up for the challenge. If you're driving an older vehicle in particular, you may have concerns about the car breaking down at some point during the journey. With a few simple checks and a bit of planning, you can help reduce your chances of getting stranded in the desert with a busted engine.
Take Car in for Full Servicing
About two to four weeks before you hit the road, take your car in to have any major repairs taken care of. This gives plenty of time to fix unforeseen problems, wait for spare parts to arrive, and test your car to make sure it still works. At this time you can check the coolant to ensure that your car is properly protected, particularly if your destination is in a climate that's warmer or cooler than you're used to. If you plan to hire a car for your journey or there are any problems with your main vehicle, you can easily compare cars online to find a model that will suit you and make your request.
The week before you depart, check tires to ensure that they are inflated fully. Low pressure can cause a wide range of problems. Not only does this make your car less efficient, but the low pressure could cause extra heat to build up, and lead to a blowout when you're on the motorway. Take your car in at this point for regular scheduled maintenance, such as oil or filter changes. Clogged filters are another way to reduce your fuel economy, making your car work harder than it needs to.
Bring Emergency Supplies
With your car fully repaired, serviced, and ready for action, you'll then be ready to start loading it up. Although it's unlikely that you'll have a breakdown or flat tire, always prepare for the worst. Bring a spare tire, jack, wrench, and other emergency supplies to help fix it if necessary. Another useful item to bring is a road atlas or good map. You can't rely on Sat-Nav if you're heading out into remote areas, and your smartphone might run out of batteries at some point.
Check the Glove Box
Look in your car's glove box and be sure that it includes your car's manual and registration papers. Do this a few weeks in advance so that you have time to order a replacement if possible. If you don't have an owner's manual, you may be able to download this online from the manufacturer's website. It could come in handy in case of a breakdown.
Distribute Weight Evenly
When the time comes to pack, it helps to start with the heaviest objects first. Extra litres of water, spare tires, and other items of this nature can be positioned to the front of the boot, on either side to distribute weight evenly. Clean your car thoroughly and do a double check to make sure you have everything you need.
You'll now be ready to get out there and experience whatever the road offers, with a clean, serviced, and properly packed car for maximum efficiency!