With spring break and summer vacation incoming, now’s the time to start preparing for road trip adventures. Getting your car inspected and investing in the right safety gear ahead of time will help you set out on the road with confidence, allowing you to focus more on enjoying your break and less on worrying about your car.

How to Prepare for Road Trips

If you’re looking to embark on some of the most iconic road trips, like Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway or Blue Ridge Parkway, then you’ve got the benefit of pulling advice from the thousands of other adventurers who hit the road before you.

But even if you’re taking a road less traveled, there are still some major pointers to keep in mind to ensure your ability to handle any problems that arise.

  • Know the route you’re taking and places you’re staying
  • Make sure you have that spare tire
  • Create a list of automotive facilities to stop at in the event of vehicle trouble
  • Get a pre-trip tune-up

How prepared your vehicle is for a road trip hinges on factors like age and condition, of course, but even the most lovingly-maintained machines can still experience difficulties if they’re not primed to handle specific environments. Ask your auto technician for more personalized information about helping your car make the trip.

Road Trip Scenario A: Mountains

If your road trip involves winding through lush mountain scenery, then additional precautions are necessary to make sure you and your passengers remain safe. No matter the weather conditions, drive in a lower gear for better control over your speed. Your steering suspension, brakes, tires, cooling systems and fuel levels all need to be operating at the top of their game so you can best navigate steep inclines and narrow roads. Treat them to a full tuning up before heading out.

Road Trip Scenario B: Cold

Whether you face ice and snow on a rocky peak or terrain as flat as a flounder, you must equip your vehicle with the essential safety measures. Cold weather conditions can lead to some of the harshest, most dangerous conditions under which you can drive, so you absolutely have to invest in the proper equipment and drive attentively to lower your risk of an accident. This includes:

  • Heavy-duty tires with snow chains
  • Antifreeze
  • Alpine Diesel when appropriate

Prepare an emergency stash of fuel, food, water, ice scrapers, flashlights, flares, safety vests and cold-weather gear like coats, long johns, blankets and gloves. Because of the black ice threat, your automotive service provider needs to give your brakes, tire pressure and steering suspension a thorough tune-up shortly before you head out.

Road Trip Scenario C: Heat

Hot weather drains your battery quickly, so if it’s over three years old, then get it tested by the experts. (Keep a spare battery or jumper cables on hand just in case.) Have the fluids in your cooling system flushed and replaced to ensure efficient engine management, and get your tires inflated properly to lower the risk of a blowout where the rubber meets overheated pavement.

Road Trip Scenario D: Sand

Four-wheel drive vehicles tend to fare better in sandy environments such as deserts and beaches, while front-wheels tend to sink and rear-wheels don’t fare too much better. If you plan to actually drive off the road, lowering your tire pressure will help improve your ability to glide” through. Because beaches and deserts also tend to be located in hotter climates, it’s a good idea to bring plenty of water in the event your radiator or engine overheats. Fill up your gas tank at every opportunity, too, particularly in areas where stations may be few and far between.

Get Ready to Go!

Dillon’s Automotive provides expert maintenance and repair service to the Katy and Houston area, with a knowledgeable staff on hand to answer any questions you may have about your upcoming adventures. Contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer questions, get your car in working order and make sure your road trip is memorable for all the right reasons.


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