Today I have a guest post to share with you from Keith Jacobs, with the website Carupkeep.info. I don’t know about you, but in my family, summer is the time for road trips. Whether it be for a holiday like Memorial Day or the 4th of July, or for a regular summer weekend, summer is the season to hit the road. Keith told me that 53 percent of Americans plan to go on a road trip this year. In this post, he provides car-related tips to make sure you’re ready for your summer road trips. I learned a lot from his post about how to maximize safety and I hope you find it educational as well! I’d love to hear in the comments if you’re planning any summer road trips and where!
Going on a road trip can be a rite of passage or a fun break from our day-to-day lives. However, whether it’s a short or long ride, we need our cars to be in peak condition. Here’s what you can do to give yourself the safety you deserve, whatever your destination.
When it comes to cars, there’s plenty that can go wrong without proper maintenance. Thankfully, as owners, we can do much to protect ourselves (and others) on the road. To begin, use an on-board diagnostic scanner, which can alert you to any issues, and a gauge to check tires. Your car’s oil levels should be full, battery checked, and headlight bulbs examined. There are many things to inspect, but addressing them can put your mind at ease.
Get a Professional Once-Over
No car is the same, and some may enjoy more mileage than others before they require servicing. Yet, a road trip will place a lot of strain on your vehicle, so get it looked at professionally. Even if you already have a regular mechanic, it doesn’t hurt to shop around for the best possible servicing. That doesn’t necessarily mean cheapest, however, as too good a deal could mean cut corners that may put you in danger. So, know your needs, ask friends and family for recommendations, and use the internet to broaden your search.
Cars have limited load capacity, and they can suffer if they go over their limit. An overweight car can become less responsive, be at greater risk of tire blowouts and poor control, and make braking difficult. It may also add to expenses, as gas costs can increase and insurance may not cover an overburdened vehicle. Give your automobile a break by only packing supplies that benefit you, with a focus on essentials that serve your trip.
With a well-maintained car, you might want to explore more rugged terrain. Certainly, off-roading can be fun, but it may only be practical with the right kind of car, as even some 4x4s are unsuitable. If possible, walk the area first to know what to expect, and drive cautiously. After all, even with research, speeding can be dangerous in difficult terrain and could damage your vehicle. With a truck, you have more options, though you might even add a mini bike. Mini bikes can transform your experience and are comfortable on rough ground. If you don’t own one already, make use of reviews and guides, as you want your ride to be the highest quality.
Have Safety Gear
A road trip is an adventure, but you must be prepared for many different types of scenarios. That’s why a stocked first aid kit is vital for emergencies, full of basics like bandages and pain relievers. Likewise, you should have high-visibility jackets, warning triangles, and lights, as these can be lifesavers at night. In fact, if you are planning on driving through Europe, know that some countries make these mandatory. Wherever you go, be sure to have a physical map on hand, as you cannot predict when you might lose your GPS signal. This can remove much of the stress out of taking dirt roads or deviating from your itinerary.
Just like yourself, your car needs to have the right tools to protect it during an emergency. Before setting off, go through a checklist of essentials to pack. As a start, focus on basics, like jump cables, tire inflators, pressure gauges, and tow straps. These will be invaluable and can be complemented with a knife, screwdriver, and duct tape. They may not seem important, but duct tape and a blade can offer temporary solutions for all manner of problems. Depending on the season, you might need additional tools, but a basic kit is a good beginning.
Organizing a successful road trip takes time, but nothing is possible without a well-maintained car. With servicing, routine checks, suitable gear, and thorough planning, you can have an unforgettable journey. Your ride can take you anywhere, so give it the investment it needs.