Road Trip Car Preparation Advice for a StressFree Adventure

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Road Trip Car Preparation Advice for a StressFree Adventure


The majority of Americans preferred road trips to flights even before the COVID-19 outbreak precipitated a sharp fall in air travel. Airline staffing shortages and rising airfares mean that many families are still opting to take a traditional American road trip rather than a flight, even though air traffic is expected to reach 84% of 2019 levels this year.

Whether you’re planning a quick weekend trip to the beach or a lengthy cross-country journey, Virginia Tire & Auto will assist you. Here is our guidance on how to get your car ready for a road trip, along with some advice on how to make restless kids and tired parents happy on the road.



How to Get Ready for a Road Trip with Your Car

A surefire method to increase your risk of needing unexpected repairs on the road is to neglect your vehicle’s routine maintenance. Make sure your car is prepared for the trip before you load the car and fasten your seatbelts.

A week or two before your travel, schedule time for a pre-trip vehicle inspection. If you have to leave your car in the shop for a few days, you don’t want to postpone your trip.

Following are some recommendations for you:

Check your tires first

Tires gradually lose air pressure over time. For this reason, we advise checking the pressure in your tires at least once every month. Every time there is a big temperature change, you should also check the pressure in your tires.

The owner’s manual or the doorjamb on the driver’s side will include the required pressure for your tires. (Never use the tire’s recommended pressure! That is the tire’s maximum allowable pressure, not the value that is often advised.)



Never overlook checking the spare! Ascertain that you have all the tools you’d require to change a flat tire (a jack, lug wrench, etc.) and that your spare tire is properly inflated.

Visually check your tires for sidewall bulges, punctures, and other tire damage as you check the tire pressure.

Use the quarter test to determine the tire tread depth! Take a quarter, and place it in your tire’s grooves upside down. Your tires are at or below 4/32″ and require replacement as soon as you can see George Washington’s head.

2. Get your emergency vehicle kit ready

Ideally, your automobile already has an emergency pack that is always stored inside. If not, now would be the ideal time to start preparing!

Your emergency kit should at the very least include a first aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, simple tools, water, and non-perishable food.

3. Examine your windshield wipers.

Rubber windshield wiper blades normally need to be replaced every six months since they deteriorate over time.

Even if they are brand new, it is a good idea to clean them off with a moist cloth to ensure a clean swipe.

4. Inspect the heater and air conditioner

You need a functional heating and cooling system whether it’s hot or freezing outside. Before you go, test your heater, defroster, and air conditioner to make sure the systems are in working order.

5. Review Your Documents

A copy of your car’s warranty, insurance, registration, and other critical paperwork should always be kept in your glove box or another safe place.

Make sure you have everything you need and that all of your paperwork is up to date before you depart on your trip.

6. Check your brakes

The most crucial component of your car’s upkeep is probably its brakes. You need effective brakes to protect your family whether you’re in stop-and-go traffic or a large animal is crossing the road.

Bring your automobile to your neighborhood Virginia Tire & Auto for a free visual brake inspection if your brakes have been screaming. To ensure that your brakes are safe to use, we’ll measure the brake pads and test your brake fluid. (When brake pads are 4/32 of an inch thick, they must be replaced.)

7. Examine your battery

When did you last replace your battery? Before heading out on the road, we advise having your battery tested if it is older than two years.

Additionally, visually check the battery’s terminals to ensure they are corrosion-free and firmly attached.

8. Adhere to the Calendar

The vehicle manufacturer has developed a recommended maintenance schedule for all contemporary vehicles. The schedule details the maintenance your car will require and how frequently.

If you’re going to reach a service milestone in the middle of your journey, we advise taking care of it before you depart.

An oil change, tire rotation, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement, belt and hose replacement, and fluid exchanges are examples of regularly scheduled maintenance procedures.

This is also a wonderful chance to deal with any dashboard lights that are illuminated. Once you’re on the motorway, that annoying light that just won’t go away might get you into some serious problems.

9. Refill Fluids

Your car’s operation depends on a variety of fluids. Before your travel, top off the vital fluids in your car for optimum efficiency (and to prevent being stranded).

You might want to keep a spare quart of engine oil on hand in case your oil level drops, depending on the state of your car.

Most grocery stores and convenience businesses carry windshield washer fluid. Grab a funnel, too, and you’re ready to go!

Although it’s unlikely that the other fluids (coolant, power steering, gearbox, and brake fluid) would need to be refilled, it’s a good idea to check them just in case.

10. Obtain Roadside Assist

If you haven’t already, think about signing up for a roadside assistance program and storing their emergency contact information in your car. Roadside assistance might come in handy if you have a flat tire, a dead battery, an overheated engine, or any other mechanical problem.

You are eligible for our free Anytime Roadside Assistance program if you received service at Virginia Tire & Auto during the previous 365 days. Call ToYourRescueTM Roadside Assistance at 1.800.889.5677 if you require roadside assistance.

The majority of these things are do-it-yourself projects, but if you don’t have the time, bring your car to Virginia Tire & Auto for service. Most maintenance issues will be discovered by our free 25-point check. In addition, we can assist you with any other auto servicing you require, major repairs, and the purchasing of new tires.

Road Trip Advice for Families

You may hopefully avoid any unexpected problems during your journey by performing preventative car maintenance and properly preparing your vehicle.

However, let’s be honest: A long car journey only succeeds if everyone is content! Some would argue that if the kids aren’t happy, you wouldn’t be much better off than if you were stranded on the side of the road. Our upcoming advice focuses on them because of this.

1. Organize and clean the vehicle

Spend some time washing your automobile thoroughly both inside and out before you hit the road. Stress will be reduced and your car will remain cleaner the entire trip if you start off in a clean vehicle.

Set up the car for success to assist in keeping the wailing and screaming in the backseat under control.

Between your kids’ car seats, insert a plastic shoebox, and fill it with toys. By placing a variety of toys within easy reach, this avoids the effort of searching under the seat for lost action figures and keeps the kids busy.

To keep snacks, chargers, toys, wet wipes, and other travel necessities handy, use plastic tubs, collapsible totes, or other storage options. Find a bag or container to use as a trash can to keep messes to a minimal. (Be sure to position it so that it won’t topple over!)

2. Bring Entertainment

Nowadays, it’s difficult to spend any time in a car without technology. Before getting in the car, make sure all electronics are charged, and then pack the chargers as well. Nothing kills time as effectively as Angry Birds.

Are there any aspiring artists in your family? Place washable crayons, markers, or pencils into an old diaper wipes container. In the seat pocket in front of your youngster, place a clipboard and a stack of computer paper.

Make sure to download any music, podcasts, or audiobooks you intend to listen to in advance in case you have signal loss during the drive. Making a playlist before you go is a smart idea as well to reduce distractions while driving.

3. Bring snacks.

We all know that the best distraction while driving is frequently food. If the food item doesn’t ruin your car, all the better.

When you stop, having your own food might also result in financial savings. Kids may refrain from grabbing candy at the gas station if they know there are tasty, mess-free snacks in the car.

Pack a cooler with foods like baby carrots, apples, oranges, boiled eggs, nuts, and granola bars for nutritious on-the-go snacking. And think about putting frozen water bottles in the cooler instead of ice packs. They serve two purposes at once: they keep your body hydrated and the meal chilled.

4. Plan Breaks

Have you ever driven past the last food exit in 70 miles after hearing your tummy rumble? That’s never a pleasant sensation.

Even though it necessitates some preliminary research, knowing where you want to stop can offer you confidence while you go into uncharted territory.

Plan out how long you’ll be driving for, when you’ll need to transfer drivers, and when you’ll need to stop for the night. A sleepy driver is a risky driver.

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