How Do You Know If Your Car is Road Trip Ready?
Road trips are some of the best adventures to have with friends and family. But before you drive off into the sunset, you must go through a checklist to make sure the vehicle is “road trip ready”. This includes scheduling appointments for car maintenance, taking safety precautions, and preparing an emergency kit of additional tools and supplies in addition to planning your mix CDs (or phone play list) and road trip games to pass the time.
Keep in mind these important reminders to make sure your road trip will be both fun and safe:
1. You have all the necessary paperwork and information in the glove compartment
Make sure you have your car manual, driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance at the ready in the glove compartment. You may be pulled over by a police officer and need to present the aforementioned paperwork and information. Otherwise, you might receive an unexpected ticket! Furthermore, have a current paper map that includes the area surrounding the destination on hand. Sometimes, a GPS will unexpectedly fail or your phone may run out of battery, but you can still rely on a map to give you a sense of direction.
2. The vehicle underwent routine maintenance
A road trip is very demanding on a car, so it’s important to make sure that every part of your vehicle is properly maintained and inspected. A battery should be replaced if it has been in the vehicle for more than three years. The engine should be filled with new oil so that all the gears are properly lubricated. Brakes should not be sticky or soft; you can press on them with confidence knowing the car will come to a complete stop. Tires should be inflated at their
recommended pressure so they will not succumb to excessive wear, thus reducing their life expectancy and increasing your risk of an accident; also, don’t forget a spare tire and jack! Windshield wipers and fluid need to be reliable in foggy or rainy weather so seeing the road ahead will not be a problem. Lastly, in order to communicate with other drivers, both brake lights and turn signals should be working.
3. There’s an emergency kit handy
Knock on wood, but if you ever become stranded or need to endure an unfortunate situation for whatever reason, make sure that you have an efficiently equipped emergency kit ready while you wait for help. Within an emergency kit, you should have basic medical supplies such as Band-Aids, antiseptic, gauze pads, and pain medication in addition to water, food, a flashlight with extra batteries, jumper cables, blankets and rain ponchos to combat unexpected cold weather,
multipurpose tools, and extra cash.
4. The car is set up for all passengers, such as children or pets
The passengers of the vehicle need attention, too! If you’re bringing your pet, it should be comfortably secure in a pet safety belt or carrier, like children in their car seats. Additionally, everyone should have their own bag of essentials. Children should have games and toys to for entertainment if they get bored. Make sure pets can easily access their travel water and food bowl. Don’t forget to engage the child safety locks and windows!
The last thing anyone wants to worry about on a road trip is what can go wrong. While we like to believe the worst will not happen, we should prepare for it anyway. But if you have taken care of your car and done routine maintenance, you can drive easy knowing that your car can handle all the miles ahead of you on that open road.
Trevor is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic”. He enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him planning his next trip or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.