Road Trip Time! The thought of a road trip can either fill you with excitement or dread, depending on your past road trip experiences. Road trips can be fun and create great memories, but when you are ill-prepared, they can be miserable experiences that turn into infamous stories. We’re here to prevent that!
Follow these 6 tips to prepare for the road trip of a lifetime:
1. Get a Car Wash
It may seem silly, but getting your car washed is extremely important before setting out on a road trip. Over time, particularly in Southern California with all of the sea spray or desert dust, our cars can be come filthy. If your car’s exterior is dirty, it can affect your visibility. You know what we’re talking about. Your windshield is so dirty, it looks like your windshield wipers had to carve a peephole out of the dust, just so you can see. That caked up dirt can affect your line of vision. A dirty car can also be harder to see for others on the road. While you’re cleaning and polishing up the outside of your vehicle, go ahead and vacuum and clean up the interior as well. Comfort is the key to a long road trip, and no one is comfortable when sitting on crumbs from the kids’ snacks or sand from the last beach trip.
2. Check Your Oil
Nothing will upset your engine more than being low on oil or having black sludgy oil. It’s always best to check it before taking a long road trip. To make sure you are getting an accurate reading, pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a paper towel or rag, insert the dipstick again, and remove to check oil level. There should be a line on the dipstick that denotes where your oil level should be. If it is an amber color and is a little below that line, top it off with some new oil. Your oil should never be black. If your oil is appearing black, take your car immediately to get its oil changed. Taking a road trip with sludgy oil is just asking for trouble!
3. Check Your Tires
It should go without saying that checking your tires is an extremely important part of preparing for a road trip. You’ll want to fill your tires to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI and be on the lookout for uneven wear and tear. Getting a flat tire on your road trip is not just a hindrance and huge pain, but it can also cause an accident. To make sure everyone arrives at the final destination safely and without a cranky attitude, just do a little proactive tire check.
4. Check Your Fluids: Coolant, Power Steering, Brake Fluid, Transmission
Aside from your oil, there are other fluids that should be checked before a road trip to prevent an inconvenience, or worse, a tragedy. Pop the hood, and check your coolant, and your power-steering, brake, and transmission fluid levels. It’s this quick little bit of maintenance that could make the difference between an easy ride or a nightmare.
5. Don’t Forget the Entertainment
This one is especially important if you have young ones tagging along. Make sure all electronic devices are completely charged and ready to go. You should also make sure to have a good car charger for all of the devices. If you do not have a USB port in your car, the simplest way to do this is to have a car charger (or few) with a USB port, and bring along all of the different cords needed to charge up your devices. Pack a pillow and blanket in case someone needs a nap, and if you have a reader in the family, bring along a couple of books/magazines in case they finish one up or just need a change of pace.
6. Fill Up and Hit the Road
Once you’ve taken care of the above steps, it’s time to pack the car, pack the family, fill up the gas tank and hit the road!
We hope you have a great, safe road trip and have fun along the way!