Before hitting the road during busy vacation season, drivers must be sure that their vehicles are adequately prepared. Hitting the road without first hitting the local garage for a checkup can spell disaster hundreds of miles from home. Instead of finding oneself stranded in a different state, consider these ways to prepare a car for a long journey.
Tires are the base of any vehicle, providing a smooth ride, saving money on gas and keeping vehicles safe in case of a near accident. Drivers should check tires for tread and for proper inflation pressure. According to Popular Mechanics at popularmechanics.com, the best time to check tire pressure is when the tires are cold.
Brakes should be in excellent condition before any trip, especially a long one that will be driving over hilly terrain. Brake pads normally last around 50,000 miles, but this depends on what type of driving has been done. Individuals should have their brake pads and other components of the brake system checked by a reputable company, such as Godfrey Brake Service & Supply.
Pack an Emergency Kit
In the winter, it is particularly important to pack a kit to keep a family warm, fed and hydrated if they are stuck in a blizzard. However, no matter what season it is, families going on trips should pack a flashlight, first-aid kit and blanket as well as tools for fixing minor car issues, such as a set of wrenches and screwdrivers.
Pack the Vehicle Wisely
The more weight that is in the vehicle, the worse one’s gas mileage will be. Drivers should check load capacities for their vehicles, which are normally printed on the inside of the driver’s door. This weight includes passengers plus cargo. According to Consumer Reports at consumerreports.org, drivers carrying extra luggage in a rooftop cargo container should only use it for lightweight items to decrease air friction and eliminate the possibility of a rollover.
Before going on a long trip, individuals should be sure that someone trustworthy knows where they are going and where they will be staying in case of emergency. Additionally, drivers should be sure to study the map to know where they will be driving and what sort of terrain they will be covering. Using up-to-date digital maps or apps will help drivers know where there is roadwork or closures. Ensuring that the vehicle is thoroughly prepared will decrease the incidence of breakdowns far from home.