A Few of the Essentials
When you are planning to take your car on a road trip cross-country, a little planning and foresight is necessary. Since you will be driving your car to a destination that may be unfamiliar to you, it pays well to get your car looked at to see that it is not only roadworthy, but also to give you peace of mind that you have done your best to make sure that your car won’t suddenly cough and sputter and just roll over and die on the side of the road somewhere.
Take a penny and slide it in the grooves. If the grooves are not deep enough to bury the penny up to half its height, your tires are too worn to survive a cross-country road trip. Change your tires. Some people check the tires that are attached to the car but they forget to check the spare tire that’s sitting in the trunk of the car. You also have to get that checked to see if it has proper tire pressure and if it is not too worn down. Nothing is more annoying than to get a flat tire and to learn that the spare tire in the trunk is also flat. You won’t be able to limp your way to the nearest service station. Worse, an unexpected expense like this can upset your road trip plans.
Check the fluids
Check the oil. Better yet, get an oil change. Change the oil filter and check the air filter. These things keep particulates from accumulating in the oil making it too thick and viscous that it won’t lubricate the engine properly.
If you are in the habit of getting a periodic oil change, then all you have to do is to ensure that you have enough motor oil. Locate the dipstick. Take it out and wipe it clean. Then put the dipstick back in and take it back out. You will see the level of oil in the engine. There is usually two indicators for minimum and maximum.
By checking the oil, you will also see if it is clear or murky and filmy. Clear oil means it is still clean and thus, your car engine is in good working order. When the oil is dark or murky, chances are, you need an oil change. When there is a whitish film on the oil – that means water has mixed with in with the oil and that could spell major trouble.
Check your emergency car supplies
Make sure that in your emergency kit in the car. Don’t just pack a first aid kit. Also pack in a can of motor oil, a can of automatic transmission fluid and a can of brake fluid. It just might save your car and save you a headache while on the road. It also will not hurt to have an empty gas can in the trunk just in case you run out of gas and you need to hike to the gas station you just passed to purchase enough gas to drive back to the gas station and fill up.
Make sure you pack a flashlight with extra batteries. Make sure you have your reflectorized early warning device (you should have a pair) to put in front of and in back of your car as you are stalled on the road. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in case of engine or fuel fire. Pack some flares in case you are in real trouble and someone is badly injured.
Make sure that the pliers, a screw driver, lug wrench, cross wrench and jack are all in the trunk and they are all in good working condition. You never know when you might need it. Also, a set of jumper cables can help you get your car started if your battery suddenly dies on you.
Check all your lights
Check your headlights, signal lights and tail lights. Make sure that your front and rear windshield wipers are working properly. Check to see that the utility light in the trunk and the map light in the car are also working. Checking the windshield wipers and sprinklers will ensure that visibility on the road is maintained.
You do not want to be pulled over and issued a traffic ticket for broken or faulty lights. You also might want to get your car battery checked as these lights depend upon battery power when you use them. You also will not enjoy sitting in your car on the side of the road in the dead of night being eaten alive by mosquitoes as you wait for a tow truck because your battery is drained.
If you don’t have time to check all this out, and make the appropriate changes before your trip, I recommend and have has great success traveling with long distance transportation companies. One in particular I like and have worked with before you can find here: http://www.longdistancedrivingservices.com/. It’s kinda a last minute resort, if you can’t fly or drive yourself. But it’s a fun experience, and you get to be on the road.
That’s all for now. Have fun!