Many of us take our vehicles for granted. Even if our car takes its daily beating from our regular commutes, we often fail to give it the regular care and maintenance it deserves. Only when it breaks down or when it fails to function efficiently do we try to invest more in keeping it in tip-top shape. This needs to change if we want our car to last long. This is especially true if we plan on taking it on a long road trip soon.
Preparation is the key to a fun and epic road trip. But this can be tricky if you fail to take good care of your car before, during, and even after the trip. Here a few tips you can keep in mind to better prepare your vehicle for the long ride.
Before the trip
Before you even take your vehicle for a long drive, make sure you have the vehicle checked by your trusted mechanic. He can make the necessary check up and preparations needed to condition your car for the long trip. He can also ensure that there are no major car issues present that can cause breakdowns along the way.
Protect your car’s exterior against the harsh elements. Keep it out of direct sunlight by parking it in a shady place. If you have no closed garage, you can opt to have a sun awning for the house installed so it can serve as a nice shade for your car in the meantime.
Give your vehicle a nice bath before the big day. Prepare the exterior with a protective film and your car’s leather interior with the right protective products. This can help protect your vehicle against the harsh sun, rain, debris, even bugs that stick to your vehicle along the way.
Check your tires and maintain the right tire pressure. It is best not to attempt travelling in a car with balding tires. This is both unsightly to look at and can also put your car and yourself at risk for driving too worn-out tires.
Make sure you bring along your emergency tools with you. This will make it easier for you to change a tire or jumpstart your car in case it breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Keep a contact list at hand listing the numbers of local mechanics and emergency numbers you can all in case of a vehicle problem.
During the trip
Only load up your vehicle with the amount of weight it can carry. Check your car’s maximum weight capacity, and don’t attempt to carry more than what is indicated. Just pack your necessary luggage and choose to go without the extras.
Keep an eye on the things that can harm your car while on the road. Keep distance from gravel trucks and use another car in between as your shield against any debris the gravel truck may blast on your car’s front.
As much as possible, avoid traffic jams. Shorten your commute by taking alternative routes that can cut your commute time. You can use a GPS navigation software app to find other routes that can safely take you to your destination.
Whenever you need to park your vehicle, chose a place that is shady and safe. If it is already dark, chose a parking space that is well-lit and secure. Chose a spot that can easily be seen by passers-by or the parking attendant.
Assume the worst by keeping your car neat and free of valuable materials before leaving it. Nowadays, the bad guys would check the car from the outside to see if they can steal valuables inside the car. Instead of flaunting your belongings, bring only what you need.
Of course, always drive defensively no matter where you go. Don’t trust other drivers on the road as you can never tell which one can cause the next accident due to their carelessness and ignorance. Keep a cool head as you drive and avoid confrontations with other drivers on the road.
After the trip
Just because your long trip is over, you can forget about your vehicle. Unload your car to take off the unnecessary weight. Have your car cleaned and then checked again by your local mechanic for a quick check up.
How you care for your car and what you do before, during, and after a road trip can make a huge difference. Making the right preparations will make it easier to maintain your vehicle in great condition while reducing the trip’s effects on your car. Choose to be a responsible car owner and never take your vehicle for granted. Even if your road trip is scheduled months or weeks away, make the right choice by protecting your vehicle as early as now.