The Tips You Need To Get Your Car Ready For A Road Trip

Posted by Ben Davidson about 5 months ago

2020 has been a bit of a bust when it comes to those epic road trips that you had planned. You could have been on the road several times this year if it wasn't for the pandemic we are in right now. However, here you are at the end of the year and you haven't been able to get out once. The good news is that 2021 may not be the same, and if it isn't you can start planning how to get your car ready for the road trip of a lifetime. It’s going to look very different for a while given that concerts and festivals and sporting events are largely cancelled, but you can still go on a road trip and see nature for all its beauty. 

Lockdowns may have scuppered your original plans, but there are still road trip routes that you can go on during a pandemic that are going to take you to the open roads and beaches, lakes and rivers that you see in the vacation brochures. Trying to get out of the house and engaging with other humans is important for mental health, so a socially-distanced road trip with friends in another car going to the same place could be your way forward! You can’t watch festivals and concerts, but you can camp. You can’t cheer on your favorite sports team, but you can abseil down the huge cliff faces by the beach. Your biggest concern should be the health and safety of those who go with you - and the health of your car. If you plan to go on a big road trip, then you need to get your car ready so that you don't end up stranded somewhere. The last thing you need is to break down on a country road and not have enough help come to you because you are stuck somewhere without signal. The good news is that there are several things that you can do for your car to get it ready to be on the road. Let’s take a look!

You can start with this checklist, and then move onto the next one. These include:

  • Look at your oil filter and get that changed, and then change the oil to fresh oil before your trip. You don't want to run out of this on the road and end up needing a refill with nowhere to go.

  • Get your car detailed properly inside and out. Vacuum and clean the interior so that you can feel like your car is liveable while you’re on the road for hours at a time. You can then pack the glove compartment properly so that you can find the maps you want and your insurance information easily!

  • Where you can, avoid putting the luggage on the roof of the car. Put the seats down in the back or simply pack less stuff! You can plan your trip around dry cleaners and make sure to ash your clothes as you need to on the way.

  • Tie two small garbage bags around the back of the driving and the front passenger seats of the car. If you’re prepared with trash bags, you don't have to worry about leaving any trash in the footwells of the car as you go.

  • You can ask a mechanic to _check your air filters before you go. These may need changing and the last thing that you need is to breathe in dirty air while you are driving. There’s nothing worse than musty air in the car on a long drive! 

  • Bring a protective sheet with you. If you have to park a motel or anywhere that you camp, you need to cover the car and the headlamps so that your car is safe from bugs and debris.

  • Have a mechanic change out the belts and spark plugs before you go anywhere. You want to make sure that you are able to drive without any issues or small things that need changing along the way.

  • Pack a tire iron and jack in the boot of the car. The last thing that you want is somewhere camping and find that you gave to change your tire - and you don't have any equipment. While you’re at it, make sure that you have a spare 4x4 wheel in the car or underneath it, too.

  • Pack some fire safe items in the car along with your back of cleaning products for dirty windshields or lights. This can be a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket for ease of use.

  • If you don't already have one, then get a spare car key cut before you go. You want to keep it on you at all times, perhaps on a belt loop, so that if you accidentally lock the keys in the car, you have a spare to hand. 

  • Have a mechanic look over your car's 4x4 wheels before you go. You want to know that these have the right tread and depth and that they are inflated enough to maintain your road trip!

  • Add sun protection for your car with the side windows and the front windows covered. You can keep the car from getting too hot with the right protection, especially when you are parked up and exploring!

It’s vital that you have the car completely ready before you go and that means thinking about all of the smaller things that will make a huge difference to the way that your trip goes. So, with that in mind, here are some more of the things that you don't want to forget!

  • Cables are a must and it’s not just the jumping cables for the car. Chargers for your technology, cameras and drone chargers are a must. If you’re bringing a spare camera with you, the best thing that you can do is to remember your memory cards, too!

  • You need to remember suncare stuff for the car, too. You need sunglasses to help you to see better while you are driving, especially if you plan to go to the beach.

  • A plastic funnel is a smart addition to the car if you are going a long distance. Bring a water bucket with it, as you may need to use a river or a lake for coolant if you have run out. Plastic funnels will help you to add the coolant or other fluids to the car, too.

  • Fill up your gas tank and fill a second bottle for the car just in case you are caught short while you are on country roads. 

  • Your car needs a survival kit and this should include:

    • A towing rope

    • Screwdrivers and wrenches of a range of sizes - and one to fit the bolts of the wheels

    • Flashlights

    • Bungee cords

    • Pliers and a hammer

As we are in the middle of a pandemic, it’s important that you also pack masks, sanitizer and gloves just in case you are required to have them when going into a shop or hotel anywhere. You should also pack antibacterial wipes, which are handy if you top for a bite to eat.

Once you are sure your car is ready, then you need to make a list of other things that your car (and you) needs to have ready before you go. 

  • Check the weather before you go for high winds and adverse rain or snow. You want to be a steady driver but you can only do that if you’re not blown off the road! Any road with lots of twists and turns can be planned in advance then and you can choose an alternate route if necessary.

  • Leave out the red bull and caffeine before you go anywhere. If you’re tired, have a nap. The best thing to do is let your body rest rather than feed it too many stimulants.

  • Line up some podcasts to avoid boredom if you’re going it alone on this road trip. You want to stay relaxed enough to see the road and drive, and being too bored can make it an unbearable trip.

  • Don't tailgate while you are driving; following trucks too closely will prevent people from being able to see you on the road. 

  • Get your car properly serviced and fixed up before you go so that you can guarantee that you are going to be safe while you drive.

Getting ready for a road trip is supposed to be exciting. The last thing that you want to do is to get on the road and have something break down, so preparation is key for success. Where do you hope to go on your trip? Planning your car accordingly is a must, so plan for the beach and plan for the snow. This way, you can change your mind about where you are going while you are going there. You can adjust your trip according to what you want to get out of it! A road trip should be exciting, so make sure that you plan two or three to fill up your time next year.

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