Road trips in the summertime are an American tradition. Whether you’re visiting friends or relatives, charting a course to natural wonders, or just taking a brief, short camping trip in-state, a bit of preparation can help your trip go as smoothly as possible. Of course, when traveling, ensure that you are operating within your local and state guidelines.
Here are some tips on how to prepare before you leave, how to enjoy your travels, and how to get your vehicle back to normal after you return home.
Prepare In Advance
Car trouble is one of the most stressful things that can happen on a road trip, causing hassles and delays. First, make sure you’re picking the right vehicle for the job, especially if you’re going on a journey through specific terrains, like mountain or desert highways.
If your vehicle is very old or has a ton of mileage, hasn’t been reliable lately, is using a lot of fluids, needs major repairs, or you simply don’t feel safe behind the wheel, chances are you shouldn’t take a road trip in this vehicle without a trip to the mechanic.
Visit the Mechanic
If you are not totally sure whether your car is ready for your upcoming trip, give us a call and have us take a look before you go. Consider scheduling an appointment a week or two before you plan to leave, so that any issues can be fixed prior to your trip. Even if everything seems fine, it’s never a bad idea to check things out.
Becoming a member of an auto club, or making sure your vehicle manufacturer is providing you with roadside assistance services, prepares you well if something goes wrong with your car along the way. If you don’t have these, you should consider getting some type of coverage so that you can quickly summon help in the event of a flat tire, a dead battery, or some other type of problem.
Less is More
Research the weather patterns at your destination and base your wardrobe on the expected conditions. If you’ll be in a warm climate, leave the dressy and heavy clothes at home. Coordinate tops and bottoms so all your shirts go with all your shorts/slacks/skirts. This gives you lots of combinations. And remember, you can always re-wear items as long as they didn’t get too dirty.
Emphasize dark colors and prints – these are less likely to show the inevitable stains and soil. Quick-drying fabrics that resist wrinkling will give you the best service. If you need to do laundry during your trip, you can easily find a local laundromat.
Pack your most comfortable clothes and footwear. This is not the time to break in new shoes! If rain is expected, waterproof your shoes with a silicone spray. If the nights will be cool, a sweatshirt or jacket makes sense. Get a water-resistant jacket for added comfort.
Stay Safe on the Road and Off
Safety should be your top priority on the road. It’s easy to get fatigued and lazy on long road trips. Switch drivers at every bathroom or gas stop if possible. This will keep everyone alert and fresh. If there’s only one driver, make sure that he or she does not get drowsy behind the wheel. Stop for a bite to eat, for a short nap, or call it a day as needed. The destination will always be there in the morning.
Clean your windshield, windows, and mirrors at every gas stop or as needed. Check your tires and your fluids each morning before you start out, and add air or top up fluids as necessary.
Clean Your Car at the End
It carried you and everyone else all those many miles, on highways, back roads, and may have even done some off-roading! You ate in it and you slept in it. Through rain, mud, dust, and summer heat, it kept you safe and brought you back alive. It deserves a thorough cleaning, inside and out.
A complete detailing job, done by a local detailing shop or full-service car wash, will restore your trusty vehicle to a like-new appearance. You’ll also feel great when you’re behind the wheel, thinking of all those wonderful memories you made during your trip!
For a reliable, safe journey, the best place to start is with a mechanic you can trust. At Euro Motorworks, we pride ourselves on taking care of our customers and community. A safe car leads to safe roads. If you’ve been considering a switch or looking for a consistent auto shop, we’re here for you.