Going on a road trip usually means that you will have some responsible fun and relax without sticking to a tight schedule. However, the preparations for the ultimate roadside chill take time and dedication. The main thing to do is make sure that nothing important gets forgotten, especially when it comes to checking whether your car is road-worthy. Here’s what you have to cover for a fun, smooth ride.
1. Checking the lights
Driving without properly functioning lights at night is illegal for a reason – it is extremely dangerous. Checking all the lights on your own might be a bit complicated, so try to get a friend or a family member to help you. Find a piece of paper and make a list of all your lights from headlights and taillights to turning and dashboard lights. Then start turning on all the lights one by one and have your chosen helper tell you where the issues are while crossing out everything that is completely functional. Keep in mind that “dimmer than usual” isn’t a ‘pass’ for a light (every single one needs to be working perfectly), and make all the necessary replacements. Getting a traffic ticket isn’t the worst thing that could happen as a result of malfunctioning car lights.
2. Check the tire pressure
In case you weren’t aware, those numbers on the side of your tires indicate the maximum allowed pressure in them. Gauge each one and make sure that the pressure is in accordance with the inscribed numbers. This is very important for your peace of mind on the road trip, as it will spare you the hassle of changing a flat tire, and it will keep your spare one where it’s supposed to be – in the trunk. Speaking of the spare, this tire is no exception when it comes to pressure gauging – the last thing you’d want is two flats in a single day.
3. Checking the fluids
Checking the fluid levels in your engine should be performed a couple of times per year regardless of whether you’re embarking on a road trip or not, especially in the wintertime. These fluids include oil, brake fluid, coolant fluid and windscreen washer fluid. While you’re at it, check the clutch fluid, as well as power steering fluid levels. Finally, keep in mind that you should consult your owner’s manual for the location of each reservoir, as this varies from car to car.
4. Oil change
Since road trips put more stress on your motor than a typical city drive, you should never presume that there’s probably enough oil in your engine. So, all you need to do is add oil before the trip, right? Well, not quite. In fact, not at all, seeing as how the sludge from the used oil would still remain in the filter even if you were to pour more oil in, but first you need to opt for a quality oil brand. For example, the reputable Castrol oil will go a long way in sparing your engine and prolonging its life. Also, just to be safe, you should get the entire filter replaced too.
5. Emergency equipment
Yes, you probably always have some of the emergency equipment at hand, but a road trip calls for a review. With this in mind, here’s a list of everything you should have:
- Medical kits
- Fire extinguishers
- A reflective warning triangle
- A spare tire
- Emergency tools (pliers, screwdrivers, flashlight, adjustable spanner, etc.)
- A working smartphone
- An up-to-date map on your phone
- A map in physical form
These five steps are mandatory for any road trip. Of course, if you need an expert’s help for anything, do not refrain from spending some money in order to make sure that all goes well on the road.