Preparation Tips For Summer Car Trips: Planning Ahead Can Save The Day
Many families get the itch to take road trip vacations during the spring and summer seasons. Sometimes these are trips with the kids, and some families even do some traveling with the elderly folks in their extended families. No matter what combination of travelers you have in the car, there are some important planning steps you need to take prior to hitting the road.
Be prepared for potential issues
Nothing dampens the excited spirits of a family on vacation like car trouble on the road. While you may not be able to guarantee that issues won’t arise as your car trip progresses, there are some key steps you can take to reduce the chances of running into trouble.
For example, USA Today suggests buying roadside assistance insurance. AAA is one of the most widely used roadside assistance programs, but many car manufacturers and insurance companies provide connections to roadside assistance as well.
Get your car thoroughly checked out
It is also wise to take your car in to see your mechanic before your trip to have everything checked out. You may want to get an oil change done, and have your mechanic check all of the fluid levels in the vehicle. In addition, verify that all of the tires are in good shape, including the spare.
It is also smart to prep for issues on the road. Make sure that you have what you need in order to change a flat tire if needed and don’t forget cables in case jumping the battery becomes necessary. Not only will a quick tune-up go a long way toward preventing any trip-ruining breakdowns, but as Popular Mechanics details, it will likely improve your gas mileage along the way too.
Pack tools to keep you on-track and safe
In addition to ensuring that the car is in peak shape, you will want to keep some basics in the car throughout the trip. Get a GPS unit ready, whether you use something on your phone or a separate unit, and check out the weather along your route to make sure that you won’t run into any issues. Tuck a spare car key into a bag you will have with you and bring an emergency kit along too.
Edmunds points out that even if you have roadside assistance and a cell phone, you could end up in a tight spot where you are having car trouble and don’t have a cell signal to call for help. This is where an emergency kit comes in handy, and it should include items like jumper cables, flares, motor oil, coolant, and a first-aid kit.
Additional emergency kits should also include a small toolkit, a flashlight and batteries, a blanket, a tire pressure gauge, some bottled water, energy or granola bars, pen and paper, and paper towels. Consumer Reports recommends adding a fire extinguisher, tire sealant, spare fuses, and a disposable flash camera that can be used to document things in case of an accident. Keep some extra small change and bills in the emergency kit and an extra change of clothes may come in handy as well.
Do additional preparations before heading home
As you get to your destination point and prepare to head back home, Lifehacker recommends doing another check of the basics. Inspect your car for issues, check the weather and map for potential issues, and fill up with gas before hitting the road.
A family car trip during the spring and summer seasons can be a great way to reconnect after the crazy school year or winter months and it can create memories that will last a lifetime. However, things can get difficult if there is a car breakdown, unexpected bad weather, or a period of getting lost. Prepare ahead of the trip by getting the car checked over, planning out the route, and putting together an emergency roadside kit to improve your chances of experiencing a positive, problem-free trip for the whole family.
Author: Keith Jacobs
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