I don’t consider myself an expert on road trips, but I have done enough to know what it takes to get ready for one. Last year the boys and I took a 50 day road trip across the Southwest and we followed that up with a #70DayRoadTrip across the Northwest this Summer. In December, we will be heading out on a three week road trip through Louisiana. Before you head out on an adventure, there are a few things you should do to get your car ready for a road trip. These are things I do each time we plan a new trip. After all, Bob the Van isn’t as young as he used to be!
Change Your Oil
This one is kind of a no-brainer. Changing your oil will help your vehicle run at its absolute best. Doing this before you even head out on the road is a great preventative measure. No one wants to be stopping for an oil change in the middle of their vacation.
Inspect Your Windshield Wipers
Road trips are all about driving long distances. Many times, you will find yourself in the middle of bad weather and heavy rainfall. We have been caught in some incredible storms on our road trips, and before I leave on a new adventure, I always inspect the windshield wipers to see if they need to be replaced. This is an inexpensive act that can make all the difference in your visibility should bad weather come.
Update Your GPS
I forgot to update our GPS before our 70 day road trip this summer, and we ended up in the middle of a corn field when we thought we were heading to Denny’s. We also had trouble locating a new hotel that had just opened on a brand new road within the last year. A lot can change in a short amount of time, so make sure your GPS is fully updated before you head out on a road trip.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Fix a flat, extra food and water, a first aid kit, flares, etc. These are all useful things that can be placed in a small emergency kit in your trunk. You never know what can happen on a road trip, but imagine what would happen if you broke down in the dessert with no water. This is something we do not leave home without. Make sure you have a working jack, lug wrench and other tools that may be needed for basic car repairs too. If you’re traveling in cold weather months, be sure you have some snow chains for your tires too.
Have a Thorough Inspection Done
One of the most important things you can do to get your car ready for a road trip is to have a thorough inspection of your vehicle done a month or so before you leave. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with our van before our trip this year, but when I had it inspected, the power steering pump was bad, serpentine belt needed replaced, and the breaks were worn. This wouldn’t have been fun to discover once we were on the road, so having it done beforehand saved us some time and money.
Check Your Tires
Perhaps the single most important thing you can do before leaving on a road trip is to check your tires. A blown tire at high speeds is not fun at all. Although you can’t control what might be on the road, you can control the condition of your tires. Replace any worn tires before you leave, and be sure to check the condition of your spare.
If you are headed out on a road trip soon, then you can save on new tires during Cooper Tire’s Fall Reward Event. Now through October 31st, you can receive up to a $70 Visa prepaid card with the purchase of a new set of four qualifying Cooper tires at participating locations. You can find full details at CooperTireRebates.com.
Cooper Tires also wants to help rekindle the idea of everyday road trips, with a new social media sweepstakes. Just post favorite moments of your daily travel in your car using the #RollWithCooper hashtag on Cooper Tire’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, and you could win great road trip prizes like a $5,000 gas gift card, a winter car-care kit or a camouflage-themed prize pack. So be sure to enter today!
Do you have any tips for how to get your car ready for a road trip? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.