Planning the Ultimate Road Trip? Here’s How to Prep Your Car!
Let’s face it: traveling to any country abroad for a vacation is almost impossible at the moment due to COVID-19. Many nations have either shut their borders to all, but essential visits are places you wouldn’t risk visiting due to rising COVID-19 infection rates.
With that in mind, more individuals, couples, and families are taking to the road and traveling inside their home countries. When you live in a vast nation like the United States, you won’t find a shortage of new and exciting destinations to visit.
You’ve probably seen a bunch of pages online on how to prepare for a successful road trip; however, they tend to focus on things like what to take with you or snacks and drinks to bring – especially if you’ve got a family in tow.
The thing is, there aren’t many pages online that detail how to prepare your vehicle for a long road trip, and that’s the purpose of this blog post. Without further ado, here is what you need to know:
Get a Thorough Mechanical Inspection
You don’t want to experience a car breakdown in the middle of a remote stretch of highway or even somewhere in the wilderness. In such scenarios, it could potentially take days for someone to come and rescue you, especially if you’re in a location with no cell reception.
That’s why it pays to have a thorough mechanical inspection carried out on your car. If you drive an SUV like a Tucson, for example, it’s a good idea to visit a dealer like Allen Hyundai, as they can give your vehicle a comprehensive check. Alternatively, if you use an independent shop for your car repairs and maintenance, have them check that nothing is likely to get damaged soon.
One of the biggest problems travelers experience on a road trip is getting a flat tire. You might be reading this and thinking that your tires look okay, but there are many reasons why that could not be the case.
For example, if your tires only have a couple of millimeters of tread, they are far more likely to get punctured by sharp objects on the road. Plus, if your tires are more than five years old, the rubber used in their construction is likely degraded and not structurally sound.
When you get brand new tires for your car, you won’t have to worry about any potential issues with them. Here are some pointers to help you get the right tires for your needs:
- Stick with branded, premium tires (or mid-range ones) with excellent reviews. Don’t assume that budget tires are just as good as premium ones;
- If you drive an SUV or truck and plan to do some driving in the wilderness, consider buying some off-road tires;
- Get your tires fitted by a reputable tire shop. Again, look at reviews of local shops and consider the best shop for your needs. An incorrectly fitted tire is just as bad as a correctly-fitted worn example.
Ultimate Road Trip: Buy a Portable Fuel Container and Fill It Up
Another worry that some people sadly experience during their road trips is running out of gas. As you can imagine, it’s a mild inconvenience if that happens and you’re in the middle of a large town or city. But, it can be a nightmare scenario if that happens in a rural location.
Thankfully, you can avoid experiencing that issue at all by purchasing a portable fuel container like a jerrycan. You can then fill it up with gas, so if your car’s fuel tank runs low and the nearest gas station is 100 miles away, you won’t need to panic.
Fuel containers come in various sizes. It makes sense to invest in one that has a minimum capacity of 20 liters. Should you run out of gas in your car’s fuel tank, you’ll have enough gas in your container to make it to the next gas station in your itinerary.
It goes without saying that you should store your filled portable fuel container somewhere safe. The container should also get stored somewhere secure and out of sight, and especially out of sunlight.
Have you ever noticed how truck drivers in the United States and elsewhere communicate with each other and motoring-related organizations via a CB radio? An advantage of using a CB radio with a good SWR meter is that it works in places where you might not have mobile phone cell reception.
Why do you need a CB radio? If an emergency happens on the road and you’re a long way away from civilization, you might need to get the help of emergency services. The trouble is, you can’t contact anyone if your smartphone has no cell reception in the wilderness.
The good news is CB radios are cheap to buy, and you’ve got a vast choice of models available to purchase. What’s more, CB radios are easy to install in your car as most only need a 12v power source, and the antenna is affixed to your car’s roof magnetically.
If you’ve never used a CB radio, it makes sense to learn how to do so and practice communicating with friends or family members that might also have CB radios. It would help if you also noted the CB radio frequencies used by truckers and law enforcement officers. That way, if you ever have an emergency and you can’t use your mobile phone, you’ll know what to do with your car’s CB radio.
Ultimate Road Trip: Have Your Car Serviced
Last but not least, when you have a mechanical inspection conducted on your vehicle, you should also have the auto shop service your car simultaneously. Have the shop carry out the following work:
- Full service, including oil and filter change;
- Coolant flush and renewal;
- Brake fluid flush and renewal;
- New timing belt/chain kit fitted.
You may already have had some of the above items done recently, so only get work carried out that might soon be due. Good luck with your road trip, and have a safe, fun time on the road!