The family road trip is an iconic vacation, and for good reason. At its best, a road trip can be an affordable way for your family to spend quality time together while experiencing a new destination in a manner that’s virtually unparalleled.
A great road trip will spark wanderlust and awareness of other cultures and communities in your children and reignite that passion for travel in you. Of course, a great road trip depends on careful planning — and a big part of that is getting your car road-trip ready. Follow these six tips to prepare your vehicle for the trip of a lifetime.
No one wants to get stranded on the side of the road due to a faulty car battery. Thus, to get from Point A to Point B without a hitch, make sure your car battery is performing optimally, as it tends to play a vital role in all of your vehicle’s electric systems.
If you or your mechanic determine that your battery is running low on juice, go ahead and replace it with a battery that will stand the test of time (to an extent), like those sold by Optima. Indeed, a quality battery is important. Case in point: A low-powered battery can even conk out from you forgetting to turn off an overhead light, something that’s inevitable on a trip with kids.
To that end, it’s better to replace the battery now than be stranded at an abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere.
On any daily commute or road trip, your tires will inevitably take a lot of abuse. But to ensure they have a long shelf life, you’ll want to regularly check the tread and wear to determine if they’re still in good, working condition. If it’s time to replace one or more of your tires, the best replacements for any road trip are all-season tires from a reliable brand like Cooper.
You’re likely to encounter many different types of road and weather conditions on your road trip, and an all-season tire will ensure your family stays safe no matter the conditions on the open road.
If your brakes are trying to tell you something, then you better pay close attention. Indeed, a properly operating brake system helps ensure safe vehicle control and operation, and it should be checked immediately if you suspect any problems, according to the nonprofit Car Care Council.
Of course, checking your brakes is best left for the professionals, and a mechanic can easily inspect your car’s entire brake system to ensure nothing looks amiss. Ultimately, a brake check is an inexpensive task that will give you peace of mind while driving miles and miles with your family in tow.
Low fluids can be an early indicator of a leak or other problems with your car. Thus, if you suspect your windshield wiper fluid, coolant or other fluids are running low, check to make sure they’re at the correct level before you head out of your road trip. You’ll want to then recheck these fluid levels occasionally when you’re filling up your gas tank, as well as stock up on oil, windshield wiper fluid and coolant to keep in the car for emergencies.
5. Air Filter
The air quality inside your car, where you’ll be spending a good majority of your day, is especially important on a road trip. Of course, having a clogged air filter can affect the performance of your engine and fuel tank, so investing in a new air filter before you embark on your trip will be money well spent.
6. Belts and Hoses
You can easily check to make sure your vehicle’s belts and hoses are in good working order yourself before your road trip. As far as the belts go, you simply need to ensure they’re firmly in place and in good shape; there shouldn’t be any cracking or visible fraying. Meantime, hoses should be securely attached, with no signs of fluid leaking from any part.
Nothing can ruin an amazing family road trip faster than having to spend a couple of days in the middle of nowhere while a mechanic fixes your car. Of course, all this can be avoided altogether with a little due diligence.
Indeed, performing a little extra maintenance before you head out on the open road will help you avoid preventable issues and get you on your way to an unforgettable family experience.