|We drive for sights like this! Moulton Barn and Grand Tetons, Wyoming
Planning An Epic Road Trip – Part 1: Vehicle Check
- Tires: Ensure that your tires have lots of tread left and are properly inflated. Old tires are more prone to blowouts, and blowouts at highway speeds can be deadly. Properly inflated tires will give you better gas mileage, traction, and reduce the chance of punctures. Be sure to fill up your spare tire too! While you’re doing that, check to make sure you have the tools you need to change a flat (and instructions if you’ve never done it before).
- Maintenance: Check your vehicle’s maintenance records to make sure all work is up to date. It is important to check your oil, lights, brakes, timing belt, and battery. I like to get a pre-trip oil change and multi-point inspection for peace of mind. Shop around in advance for a deal, and do some research so you can determine whether you need to do all the recommended work.
- Fluids: Check fluid levels, replenish as necessary, and ensure caps are well fastened. Check for leaks the net day.
- Windshield Wiper Blades: You don’t want to find out in a torrential rainstorm that your windshield wiper blades are shot and streaking your windows. Test them out and replace them before your trip if need be.
- First Aid Kit: Purchase or replenish your First Aid Kit as needed.
- Essentials: Booster cables, battery booster, jerry can, shovel, tarp (for tire changing or emergency shelter), flashlight. Some boosters even have a built-in light and USB port to charge your phone. If you are not camping, be sure to pack some survival gear such as blankets, a fire making kit, flashlight/mini lantern/headlamp and matches and candles (as backup – batteries die), and some extra food and water in the event of an accident or breakdown far from town. A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) such as the InReach is good to have if you are frequently off the beaten path. In winter driving conditions, you should always keep blankets, extra clothes, and kitty litter in the car. Some kitty litter sprinkled around your tires will give you traction in the event you slide off the road (but aren’t so far off the road to need towing).
- Registration and Insurance: Are these up to date? Did you remember to place the sticker(s) on your license plate?
- Roadside Assistance: If you do not have roadside assistance from your vehicle’s manufacturer (some provide it for the first 1-2 years after purchase) or a credit card that you carry, consider signing up for roadside assistance. CAA / AAA is excellent value for the money. We have used our membership for free maps, towing, battery boosts, and unlocking the door when we locked our keys in. They will even bring you gas if you run out!
|This battery booster saved us a couple times when the kids left a light in the car on all night long!
It can also charge your phone! Available on Amazon (affiliate link).
Getting your vehicle ready is just the beginning. In Epic Road Trip Planning Part 2, we will discuss budgeting and how to make the trip of your dreams a reality. Stay tuned!