Travel

Prepping Your Car for a Safe, Carefree Road Trip

By: Keith Jacobs | keith@carupkeep.info | carupkeep.info

Photo courtesy of Pexels

Travel plans don’t always have to be luxurious, exotic, or expensive. If you’re craving a change of scenery, a weekend road trip might be just what you need. Whether you’re heading to the beach or the mountains, Forbes reports that driving has fewer logistics than flying. Sure, it might take a little longer to reach your destination. However, the upside is you won’t have to deal with the stresses of busy airports, unruly strangers, security checks, or expensive flights.

Whether you’re on a gap year, taking a family holiday together, or just looking for a fun way to spend your day off, road trips can be convenient, affordable, and spontaneous.

Before embarking upon your next trip, here are some tips for avoiding any unexpected hiccups:

Do your research

The first rule of road trips is to understand what your car is capable of before you hit the road. Being proactive helps avoid any potential problems, like dead batteries or broken air conditioning.

To reduce your likelihood of mishaps, do some research before you leave. Look up the pros and cons of taking your specific vehicle on a road trip, especially if your vehicle has high mileage or any known issues. For instance, Gumtree says the very popular Ford Fiesta provides leading safety features for cars in its class. Although it’s a city car, it’s also economical on gas, making it a versatile choice for long-distance drives, the downside is that these tend to have powershift auto issues.

Safety
When it comes to safety, it’s crucial to consider your chosen destination’s roads and weather. Will you be driving in ice, snow, or sand? Are the roads paved? Can your little convertible handle the rugged mountain terrain, or would you need the extra traction of a 4WD SUV? Google your destination prior to departing to determine what type of vehicle makes the most sense. If your car can’t make the trip, you might hire a car or choose a different destination.

Maintenance
Poor mobile phone reception is inevitable during long drives. Luckily, most other road trip mishaps can be easily prevented with a trip to the mechanic before you depart. Consumer Reports recommends servicing your vehicle, checking all fluid levels, testing the battery and brakes, and ensuring your hoses, radiator, and lights are in good shape.

Other alternatives
If you ultimately determine that your car isn’t road-worthy, that doesn’t mean you’ll need to give up on your holiday plans. Instead, you might consider hiring (also known as “renting”) a car. Prices are generally competitive these days, so a car hire might ultimately be cheaper than fixing significant repairs on your own vehicle prior to a long trip.

Alternatively, you could book a tour and let someone else do the driving for you. When booking a tour of your desired destination, look for an experienced company within your price range. Before booking, do your homework. Before choosing a tour company, carefully research itineraries and read online reviews. That way, you’ll have enough information to select the most appropriate tour that best suits your needs, interests, and budget.I

Know your priorities
Remember, your health, safety, and budget are the most crucial factors when planning your road trip. Perform any vehicle maintenance or hire reliable transportation if needed. If you have any physical conditions like arthritis or low back pain, driving long distances can be difficult or uncomfortable. Take your unique situation into consideration, and either choose a closer destination or pull over and stretch every couple of hours as needed. Women’s Day also advises adjusting your seat and your posture to make the long drive more comfortable. By taking these extra steps, you’ll ensure a safe, enjoyable trip.

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