There are very few people who don’t agree that long road trips are awesome. You have all the time in the world to spend with your friends and family, an opportunity to go off-road and visit some places that are not necessarily on the tourist maps, and freedom to pace the journey on your own. As a matter of fact, the only things that spoil this near-perfect picture are the cars that always seem poised to break down in the middle of nowhere and leave us stranded for hours. Let’s see what we can do about this problem.
Assemble an emergency repair kit
Some malfunctions are beyond the scope of an average person. Most of the other things that can go south, on the other hand, can be fixed with regular car maintenance tools. So, be sure to have your survival kit before embarking on any long journey. Some of the things you should always keep in the trunk are as follows:
- Towing rope (or a chain)
- Jumper cables
- A set of screwdrivers and wrenches
- Electric charger wire
Check and replace the essential fluids
To put it simply, essential fluids are the lubricants that allow the mechanical parts of the vehicles to move without wearing down. Although they have their unique life-span, there is always a chance that tubes or containers might be damaged and leaking fluid. Do your best to inspect them before starting the trip. Here is your checklist:
- Engine oil
- Power steering fluid
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
Pack a couple of spare parts
Paying a visit to a mechanic and making sure all car parts are in good shape is something that goes without saying so we won’t spend too much time on it. Instead, we will point out that sometimes breakdowns can come down out of the blue so you can never be 100% sure. Fortunately, this problem can be solved with a safety net of sorts. For instance, if you are driving a Toyota, the market is filled with affordable and quality aftermarket Toyota parts that should buy you peace of mind on a long trip.
Take care of the tires
Tires are the only component of your vehicle that comes in direct contact with the ground. Because of that, they also sustain the greatest level of attrition on long journeys. The least you can do for them is make sure they are properly inflated. You only need to press the electric gauge on the valve and see if the numbers match recommended values from the owner’s manual. The other thing you should check is the depth of the threads – everything below 3 mm (0.1 inches) is considered unsafe.
Examine the electrical systems
Although cars are mechanical systems, electricity is what keeps them alive. So, start this task with a battery that is the heart of any electric system. Turn the car on and use an electric voltmeter to see how the charge holds up. While you are there, you can also check the cables and clean the battery terminals to make sure they don’t lose any conductivity. Once you are done with this, you can proceed to minor systems like headlights, taillights, and windshield wipers. Pack a couple of replacements just to be sure.
These few steps are just the tip of the iceberg but they should make your car much safer and reliable for long-distance journeys. Long-distance trips are an opportunity to have a great time with your friends and family. Don’t let your car suck all the fun out of them.