If you’ve got a long drive ahead of you, chances are your brain is packed to the brim with itineraries, schedules, daily mileage goals and the variety of wardrobe choices you have to pack when you traverse time zones. But the one detail you cannot forget is preparing your car for the trip. In the end, your life may very well depend on it. Warmer or cooler clothes can be bought, traffic and road closures can be navigated around. But there’s nothing you can do once you’re stuck sitting on the side of the road with a car that’s given up the ghost. On a long distance road trip your car is your home, your dining room and your best friend, and you’ve got to treat it with the utmost care and affection. So consider these tips for preparing your car for long distance travel.
First of all, get your car into the mechanic’s shop for a baseline look at where things stand. You may have taken impeccable care of your vehicle up until this point, making sure it got an oil change every three months and scheduled each maintenance check recommended in the manual. Perhaps you can’t be bothered with such things and drive your car into the ground. There’s no telling when something can go wrong, regardless of how good or bad you are at keeping up with the details. So schedule this check-up and keep your fingers crossed there are no major issues. Just make sure you bring it in a good month to six weeks in advance of your departure date, so you’ll have time to address any issues that are uncovered.
Next, break out the driver’s manual and read it cover to cover. Much of it will be common knowledge, but it never hurts to check over some of the specifics of your vehicle. Pay particularly close attention to the dashboard indicators, so you know if something shows up that you should take care of immediately. The manual will also walk you through changing a tire (which you should practice before you leave), switching out the battery or giving it a jumpstart and many other common maintenance situations. The more comfortable you are with these basics, the better prepared you will be out on the road, when you’re far away from the nearest gas station or garage.
The week before you are going to leave is when you want to give everything a once over. Check all of the fluid levels, as well as the tire treads and pressure. Look for loose bolts or weakened belts, in case your mechanic missed anything. Make sure everything is as it needs to be, and take care of any random details. The more you do now, the better off you’ll be when you head out on the road.
Finally, if your trip will take you into unfamiliar terrain consider a short trial run before you embark on your long distance journey. For instance, perhaps you’re going for a long drive in the mountains and you’ve never done that before, or maybe this will be your first extended trip in desert conditions. Before you spend weeks at a time in these situations you could be well served with a day or two to test everything out. You’ll get used to the unique driving requirements, and have the chance to watch your car’s performance in extremes of elevation or temperature. This could be really important if you got your insurance policy from Cheapcarinsurance.net and have limited roadside assistance. Before you commit to the big trip, make sure your car can handle a shorter one. That way you’ll embark on the long distance trip with fewer surprises.