(Updated on April 12, 2021)
Everyone dreams about going on a long road trip. There is nothing more exciting than taking your vehicle out for an extended trip across the country or at least to another state. However, this thrill could be jeopardized if your car ends up breaking down while you’re so far away from home.
That is why you need to take some precautions with your vehicle to ensure that it will stay functional throughout the duration of the long road trip. Otherwise, you could find yourself stranded somewhere for a couple of days which could throw your travel plans off course.
Top 10 Tips for Taking a Long Car Road Trip
Before going on your long road trip, take the time to learn some tips on how to get through it without too many setbacks. Below are the top 10 car tips for taking a long road trip.
Some of these tips pertain to the functionality of your vehicle while others are just common-sense precautions to take in case you get stopped by the police.
1) Charge Your Battery
This should be the most obvious tip. If you’re going on a long road trip, then it would be good to know that your car battery is fully charged. That way, you don’t have any unexpected electrical problems on the road somewhere.
2) Take Scenic Roads
A long road trip is usually about sightseeing and exploring new locations. If you’re spending the whole time on the interstate, you’re not going to be seeing much of anything. Try taking some more of the state roads during your trip. If you’re not in a hurry, then the extra delay won’t be a big deal.
3) Check Tire Condition
Make sure your vehicle’s tires have good tread and have the correct air pressure. The most common car issue on a long road trip is a flat tire, so you need to inspect your tires thoroughly before the trip. If need be, either top off the tires with air or buy new tires if they don’t have much life left.
4) Get an Oil Change
A lot of stress is put on the engine during a long road trip. You need to be sure that you have fresh quality oil that is properly lubricating the engine’s components. Otherwise, you could run into engine problems on your trip. So, get an oil change before you leave.
5) Get Roadside Protection
Just in case you do breakdown for whatever reason, be sure that your car has roadside assistance protection. This usually comes with your insurance or through a dealer warranty.
Keep the protection card in your wallet and then just call the number if you have a breakdown.
6) Be Patient
You may have a deadline for getting to your far away destination, but it is important that you don’t rush on the road. You need to learn to have patience. This means being prepared for slow traffic or bumper-to-bumper vehicles on the interstate.
Parents naturally understand what patience means and this is even more important when the little ones are with you on your trip.
7) Have Cash on Hand
You should always have some cash in case of an emergency. You never know when you’ll have an emergency expense, like food, car repairs, medical kits, and so on and credit cards are not accepted as payment for whatever reason.
8) Have GPS Available
Take advantage of modern technology by putting a GPS device in your vehicle. This will give you maps and driving directions that you can follow in real time as you’re driving. That way, it will be virtually impossible to get lost.
Your smartphone likely has a map app as well but a dedicated unit will likely have a larger screen size and better coverage in remote areas.
9) Pack Essentials Only
Try not to travel with too many items on your long road trip. You should only take the bare essentials, like clothes and food. Otherwise, fuel economy may suffer from the extra weight.
10) Bring a Smartphone & Charger
Another piece of technology that you need to have on a long road trip is a smartphone. You probably already take a smartphone with you wherever you go, but be sure that you bring your charger as well.
Otherwise, your phone’s battery will run out of power at the worst possible time. Then what will you do if you need to call for help in case of emergency?