When we set out on a road trip, we are looking out for an enjoyable driving experience. If however your car isn’t road trip worthy, the experience could be a nightmare. So, if you seek to make your road trip a memorable experience, pay attention to your car. Ensure that your car is mechanically absolutely fit for your long road trip. Prepping your car for your proposed road trip is paramount.
Begin by checking all the fluids. This includes the brake fluid, engine coolant, power steering, windshield wiper fluid, transmission oil and the engine lubricant. The fluids in your car ensure healthy running. Starving your car of the right amount of fluid would result in undue wear and tear or even complete breakdown due to fatigue failure. It’s best to take the aid of a certified mechanic wherever necessary.
Your tyres including the Spare are most critical. Ensure that your tyres are less than four years old. Tyres over time become hard and develop fine cracks, because of which they lose their tensile as well as bursting strength. A tyre burst at speed has a high fatality risk. Even if your tyres are within the 4-year limit, you need to inspect your tyre tread. The tread depth needs to be more than 1/16-inch to make sure your tires are safe. If your tyres have outrun their capacity, they are no good for a road trip because they have already lost their grip. With all the above parameters in place, be sure that you maintain tyre pressure as specified by the manufacturer. Make sure that your wheels are both, aligned and balanced for appropriate stability.
Visually inspect the wiper blades, belts in your engine and hoses for signs of cracking or crumbling. If you spot crumbling and cracking of automotive rubber in any of these, replace immediately. Replacing wiper blades before your road trip ensures your windshield visibility is at its best. The windshield washer nozzles over time get choked or misaligned. Make sure these are cleared or replaced and suitably aligned to direct the spray directly on your windshield. It often helps to keep spare belts and hoses in the trunk just in case of any emergency.
Your tool kit and emergency Kit come next. Check whether or not your wheel jack is properly functional. Also confirm that you have the correct wheel spanner as well as all the other tools. Also keep a sealant just in case of a leak in the radiator or the oil sump. Although a first aid kit doesn’t affect the running of your car, it is a safety imperative while on a road trip. Check the expiry of the contents of your kit. Discard and replace immediately all the material that has crossed the date of expiry.
Finally check all your electrical functions. This would involve checking your headlight beams, tail lamps, brake lamps, indicator lamps, driver console, passenger compartment light and the light in the boot. Check your battery and your alternator charging.