Long Trip and Vacation Vehicle Preparation Driving Trips
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Long Trip and Vacation Vehicle Preparation Driving Trips

Some tips to help keep your vehicle healthy and happy on a long trip.

When you are taking a long trip, it means that you are venturing outside of your normal stomping grounds. You are traveling into a place with unfamiliar mechanics and hazards, and if possible, you would rather not have to deal with any of it. Occasionally, accidents, nails and other hazards happen and force you to service your automobile while away from home, but here are some tips to set you up for the best possible vacation experience: the one where you drive out, drive back, fill up with gas occasionally, and do nothing else with your car except perhaps play the radio.

Tire issues are probably the most common and most preventable. The basic tips remain effective: keep an eye out for bits of flotsam on the road surface: truck treads, the infamous nail, and other objects. It it usually in your best interest to carefully avoid the object if you can. Also, if you keep your tires inflated to the recommended pressure, then they will be able to better resist road hazards. Proper inflation decreases treadwear and heat, and increases fuel economy. Consider whether you should do a tire rotation before or after your trip.

Do you drive a car? Most cars provide "donut" miniature spare tires. These are nice and cute for getting you to the service station, but too many drivers are tempted to drive around on them for too long. Consider either buying a fifth tire for a full size spare or keeping one of your old tires in your trunk. This way, you can make it home and take care of a simple tire swap without the pressure of time on your vacation.

Oils and fluids are also extremely important. Check, refill, and replace them all as necessary: power steering, brake, clutch, oil, transmission, antifreeze, and coolant. Monitor these during your long trip on stops while you wait. If you are aware of a leak, consider keeping a bottle of whatever leaks with you so you can top it off when necessary.

Many argue that it is more cost effective to rent a car for a long term trip. I prefer being at the helm of my happy Honda Accord, and as of this writing I'm also still under 25, but if you plan on driving your own vehicle on a long trip, remember to monitor the long term issues you are keeping your eye on. Timing belts need to be replaced, and if you have an older vehicle, you are probably noting several issues that may need eventual maintenance. Check the status of those before you leave the driveway.

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Comments (1)

Thank you. I think that your article will help me avoid visiting the garage