What could be worse than your car breaking down while on a holiday road trip 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 your car repaired.
To that end, please take these steps you can take to protect your vehicle, your trip and your family.
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:
- Change your oil and oil filter.
- Change air filter.
- Check car belts and change spark plugs.
- Make certain your tire iron and jack are in the car.
- Check spare tire.
- Check tires condition. Check tires tread and look for signs of strain, bulges or other damage. Check tire pressure. Don’t over inflate.
- Check 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.
- Flush radiator, if you haven’t done so in a while.
- Check Fuses and Horn.
- Check that high and low beam headlights are in working order.
- Check power steering and brake fluid.
- 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.Some additional advice:
- 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..
- 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.
Once your car passes this checklist, there are some tips for effective driving. After all, you may not be a part of your car, but if you’re not functioning properly, your car’s condition really doesn’t matter.
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.
Cover headlights and front of the car with a protective sheet to prevent bug clogs or other damage.