When you’re having the time of your life on an epic summer road trip, the last thing you want is to have to deal with unexpected car problems–much less get stuck in the middle of nowhere.
Even if your car is brand new, proper pre-road trip preparation is still a crucial matter. And if your car is not so new, all the more reason to prepare it for the rigors it’s going to go through on your epic adventure.
So as you start planning your stopovers and destinations, here’s what you need to do to reduce the chances of an unexpected breakdown during your trip.
1. Check your tires
Your car’s tires are going to receive most of the beating during your road trip, which is why checking them before departing is paramount to ensure safety and convenience throughout your trip. See if tire pressure is at appropriate levels in all of your wheels. Check the tread, too. If the tread is too worn, it’s a good idea to replace your tires before going on a road trip, especially if it’s a long-haul one.
Don’t forget to check your spare tire, too. Even if you’re not using it, the air can escape over time, so inflate it to the right level before leaving.
2. Look under the hood
Check every fluid level there is, including oil, brake, transmission, power steering, and windshield washer. Take a look at the hoses and belts to see if there are any signs of damage that need addressing. While you’re at it, check the date on your car’s battery. If it’s been more than three years since it was installed, it’s high time to replace it. Stalling in the middle of the road is incredibly inconvenient, and you would have to wait a long time before the battery service arrives, especially if you’re in the middle of nowhere.
3. Ensure the electricals are all working
Test if your horn, wipers, and lights are all working before leaving for your road trip. Lights are most important for your safety, so be sure to check each light both inside and outside of your car; have someone stand outside to see if the brake lights are working. Aside from maintaining your safety and the motorists around you, ensuring that all of your lights are working will help you avoid a ticket.
If any of your electrical components seem off, take your vehicle to the nearest Subaru repair shop to address the issue before you go on your road trip.
4. Pack a complete roadside emergency kit
Checking each component of your car won’t eliminate the chances of experiencing a breakdown during your road trip. If this still happens despite adequate preparation and careful driving, it’s better to be prepared with a roadside emergency kit that can help you get the car moving until you reach the nearest mechanic.
The basic components that a roadside emergency kit should have are:
- Jumper cables
- Roadside flares
- Duct tape
- Tire inflator
- Toolkit with a screwdriver, wire cutters, pocket knife, etc.
- Fire extinguisher
- Extra batteries
- Paper towels
- First-aid kit
- Tire iron
5. Let your car rest
Cars need to rest just like you and your passengers do. During a road trip, it’s a great practice to stop every few hours or so to let the car and its passengers rest. If you are taking a multi-day road trip, don’t take turns driving through the night. Instead, stop and spend the night somewhere to let the car rest after a long day of being on the road. This is especially important if the vehicle is running for more than eight hours a day.
6. Vary the speed
One of the most exciting parts about going on a road trip is being able to speed through deserted roads. However, driving at high speeds all day can make the engine work a lot harder than when you drive at close to normal speeds. That said, it’s best to vary your driving speed throughout the day, switching from fast to moderate every few minutes or so. If your vehicle is older, it’s probably best to stick to the speed limit to avoid the engine clunking out unexpectedly.
No one wants to deal with a car failure while on what is supposed to be an epic road trip; much less in the middle of nowhere with the sun beating down on you. To avoid unexpected breakdowns in the middle of your road trip, especially if it’s a long one, keep these tips in mind before embarking on your next adventure.