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5 Top Ways to Prep Your Car for a Long Family Trip This Summer

 

Summer is an excellent time for family vacations. But, if you’re like most people, the thought of packing up the car and driving across the country with your kids and pet in tow sounds exhausting. 

When you finally get to your destination, the last thing you want to do is unpack all of our suitcases from the trunk! So, before you put on your flip flops and head out for vacation this summer, take these five easy steps to make sure that your car is ready for any length trip:

Plan for Servicing and Maintenance

There are various things to consider. First, take your car in for a tune-up and have it serviced before you go. Replace your old air filter and clean the interior of the car. 

Furthermore, try not to drive at high speeds for extended periods because it will cost you more in gas money, wear out your engine faster, and make a lot of noise. Instead, try to use cruise control or stay under 80 miles per hour when driving on the highways.

Check your tire pressure before you go and recheck it if you notice any changes while on the trip because they may have gone down due to heat or driving conditions. Also, ensure you have coil over shocks to create a foundation of a winning suspension for your car and boost efficiency. 

Have a full tank of gas when leaving home so that you’re not out in unfamiliar territory looking for gas stations, especially during summer with its high gas prices. If you’re going through any bad weather, make sure to keep a safe distance and not drive in the rain or snow as aggressively because it will cause your car to overheat.

Lastly, bring some food with you so that if your car breaks down somewhere in a remote area, you won’t have to spend all of your time out there looking for something to eat or drink before finally being able to find the nearest gas station.

Have Emergency Supply Kits

This is an essential part of any trip. Having emergency supplies on hand gives you peace of mind when you’re miles from civilization and stuck in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire, dead phone battery, or other vehicle problems that are out of your control. 

It’s not just for long drives, too – if you have to make a quick stop in an area without a convenience store, it can be invaluable to have these supplies on hand in case of an emergency.

The kit should include:

  • A gallon jug of water
  • Enough food for at least two days
  • Extra clothing and shoes that are appropriate for the season, so you don’t have to wear the same clothes every day
  • A first aid kit with medication for motion sickness, stomach and diarrhea relief, allergy medicine, antihistamines, a thermometer, and any other medications you need to take regularly
  • Emergency roadside assistance information from your insurance company or the phone number of an auto club. 
  • A good map
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Extra cell phone batteries and chargers to charge your devices if you’re running low on power. Make sure they have a built-in flashlight as well so you can find things after dark!

Check Your Tires

If you have a low tire, it could cause an accident. Ensure you inflate your tires to the correct PSI number and that they still have tread left on them. Driving on bald tires can cause a blowout which could be catastrophic. 

Check your tire pressure and make sure the tread is still in good shape before heading off on vacation or visiting family for the summer. You should also make sure that your spare is in good shape and inflated. 

This will come in handy if you get a flat tire on the freeway or when visiting family because there might not be time to drive back home for an hour so that you can have someone change it out with a new one. 

If this happens, don’t worry about going with a flat tire, you won’t damage your car. Just make sure the spare is in good shape and keep driving at average speeds until you can get it replaced.

In addition to checking your tires, you should also check that there are no leaks or other problems with them, like something sticking out of the side of one, which would cause it to wear down faster. 

You don’t want to get stranded on the side of the highway with a broken tire, so make sure that your tires are in good shape by checking them every few weeks.

Ensure the AC is Functional

If you plan on using air conditioning during a summer road trip, it’s essential to take care of any pre-existing problems with the system before leaving. It may seem common sense, but many drivers don’t do this and end up in a long line outside an AC repair shop just days after returning home. 

Therefore, ensure that you check your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance intervals, get it done before you leave, or ask your mechanic to do it.

When the air conditioner is working, make sure it’s not blowing hot or cold air and adjust as needed. If it is blowing hot or cold air, you may need to have it serviced. This problem can be caused by a clog in your system that needs to get addressed before traveling. 

Wait until the AC blows consistently cool (or warm) air for an extended period before continuing with travel plans.

Take Your Car for Drive Test 

A driving test can help reveal any problems with the vehicle, whether due to age or neglect. Driving in the rain or on slick surfaces is also an excellent way to show problems. 

When you’re driving, check for any unusual noises (even if it’s subtle). If strange sounds are coming from your car, get it checked out as soon as possible–you might be dealing with something serious like an engine problem. 

If the car is sputtering, this could indicate a problem with fuel. Make sure you’re not running your gas tank low and fill up at an appropriate time to avoid encountering any significant problems on your trip.

Test out the brakes by driving through some stop signs or pulling over in traffic for a moment before accelerating again. It’s a good idea to have them checked before you start your long road trip.

Test out the steering by taking sharp turns at high speeds (if it is safe) and ensuring that no unusual sounds are coming from the front or back tires. If you feel wobbly, pull over ASAP! You may need new brake pads or a tire.

Lastly, check your oil level and fill it up if necessary, as low oil levels in the engine can lead to significant problems on the road. Make sure you’re also checking for leaks or any other issues that need attention before starting on your trip!

The number one thing you need to do before a long summer road trip is to plan. This includes defining the route, packing for all eventualities, and making sure that your car hasn’t had any mechanical issues recently. If it has been a while since you’ve checked on these things, then now’s a good time to get back up to speed before your next long-distance trip.

Finally, remember to get enough sleep and make sure that you stay hydrated. You’ll be a lot less cranky if your body is in good shape! And it’s always nice to have something cold for when you stop at the next rest area or gas station along the way. Happy traveling!

 

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