Preparing a car for a long trip or go car camping is not so hard, but what's must have is proper car. The least what you need is broken car on a long journey, or to get flat tire, broken lights, to ran out of gas etc.
Don't forget the comfort. If you will drive for many hours drive in clean car with nice music and so on. If the road is full of snow or mud or if it's a rainy day you'll need extra attention on car and the road.
So here is the check list that make your drive safe.
Road trip checklist
- Check the car owner's manual
- Get any major repairs done.
- Get any scheduled maintenance done.
- Clean out your car: interior and exterior (like waxing)
- Check under the hood
- Check engine oil
- Check engine coolant
- Check car battery
- Check filters: air, oil and transmision fluid (and change it if needed)
- Check fuel pump
- Fill the gas tank
- Buy a road atlas or consider a GPS navigation system
- Join AAA
Walk-around inspection for a long trip
The simplest and cheapest way to check car for a long trip is the walk-around inspection. You should do it first by yourself:
- Check wiper blades for cracks or separation from the blade retainer. Check out all the lights in the car the turn signals, headlights and brake lights.
- Checking tires is important and you should check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. The recommended tire pressure provided by the vehicle and tire manufacturers (consider finding car owners manual). Over-inflated tires would cause the tire to wear prematurely in the center. Driving in wet conditions (rain, snow etc) an over-inflated tire gives you less tread contact on the road, and under-inflation will result bad hadling and increased fuel consumption.
Under the hood inspection for a long trip
When you're done with walk-around inspection of car, inspect under hood:
- Check fluid levels by lifting the hood and check: engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, radiator coolant, and windshield washer fluid levels - and top up if necessary.
- Inspect hoses do they proper fit, leaks, brittleness, loose clamps, and softness in the elbow areas.
- Check belts for alignment, glazing, adjustment, and tearing and cracking - and replace if necessary.
Other items to check under the hood
- Lights and mirrors
- Windshield wipers
- Steering, suspension and drivetrain components
- Spare tire, wheel wrench and the jack
- Basic emergency kit
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