What could be worse than your car breaking down while you are visiting relatives during the holidays , perhaps hundreds of miles from home. Time with relatives and friends is a time for fun, not dealing with the stress of getting a car repair. To that end, please take these steps you can take to protect your vehicle, your trip and your family on holiday car trips. If you have a mechanic you usually deal with have him check/change the following or if you are DIY, you need to check these things:
- Oil and oil filter
- Air filter
- Belts and spark plugs
- Tire iron and jack are in the car along with the spare tire
- Tire treads and look for signs of strain, bulges or other damage. Check tire pressure. Don’t over inflate.
- Check that high and low beam headlights are in working order.
- Windshield wipers and wiper fluid. When the rain falls, you don’t want to discover your wipers are useless. In addition, bug hits can really mess a windshield, so you’ll need a full fluid reservoir.
- Check Coolant, Fuses and Horn.
Some additional advice:
- Begin your trip with a clean car, both inside and out. It will help for you to be organized.
- Try not to put luggage over the car. It creates air friction and slows you down – burning more gas. If it is unavoidable, cover with strong sheet and tie them very well.
- Keep a small garbage bag inside the car.
- Cover headlights and front of the car with a protective sheet to prevent bug clogs or other damage.
- Pack a fire extinguisher.
- Get a spare key for the car and keep it in your wallet or elsewhere on your person in case you lock your keys in the car.
- Fix sun protectors for side windows and front windshield.
- Stock up on CDs to cover the trip if you don’t have Sirius radio.
- Have some games planned for the younger ones.
- Bring a plastic funnel to add water or other fluids
- Bring towels for cleaning dirty windshields, spills, etc.
- Make sure your owner’s manual is handy.
- Always fill your gas tank when it is half full. Don’t wait too long. Sometimes there can be miles and miles in between rest areas or service areas.
- Be reasonable about how many miles you can cover in a day. Don’t push it, especially with young children.
- Forget about high speeds. A steady driver can book more miles and enjoy more scenery. You’ll also save on gas over the long haul.
- Leave the caffeine at home. If you get tired, pull over and rest. If it’s midway through the day, try a nap of about 30 minutes. If it’s getting dark, get a motel. It’s not worth risking your safety if your body is telling you it needs rest.
- Learn to avoid boredom. For times like this, listening to your favorite music or a book on tape can prove invaluable.
- Finally, stay away from trucks. Truck drivers dislike having anyone follow them.
With proper preparation before a trip, and a good attitude during a journey, you can make sure you not only survive a long trip – but also enjoy it.