Going On A Road Trip? Read This!
Published On Jan 04, 2021 12:00 PM By InsuranceDekho
Wondering what to do before heading out on the road with your buddies? We have put together the perfect road trip checklist to make your life easier.
Longing for that adventurous road trip which you have been planning for so long? Long road trips are always enjoyable, especially when it’s with a group of your fun-loving friends or family members. It comes along with so many other exciting events like creating WhatsApp groups, making con calls for discussing and planning the entire event, packing up your bags together, and of course, making your car trip-ready. While all the other things are taken care of, you might often neglect your vehicle. It’s your duty to make sure whether your car is going to serve you smoothly throughout the whole trip without breaking down.
The Perfect Checklist for a Road Trip
The smooth road trip can go wrong if you cannot rely on your vehicle. A car breakdown is a common mishap that happens on road trips. So, what should you do if you get stranded miles away from a town or in the middle of an unknown road? One precautionary measure is car servicing. A servicing of your car is a necessary year-round process and you must get it done before your road trip becomes a disaster to cover all the basic maintenance tasks. However, besides getting your car serviced, you must follow this checklist for a hassle-free experience:
1. Check the Battery
Checking the expiry date of your car’s battery is an important task. If it is more than three years, then go for a replacement. Besides, be sure that the electrical charging system of the battery is functioning properly. Both overcharging and undercharging can severely damage the battery life of a car. Sometimes if the starter sounds sluggish in the car, it can be due to a corroding or dying battery. If its corrosion, clean the white chalky stuff outside and then proceed with driving.
2. Check the Tyres
While checking the tyres, two things are needed to be checked - the tyres’ pressure and tread. Coming to the question of air pressure in the tyre, make sure that the tyres are not over or under-inflated as this can lead to several issues like premature wear, bumpy ride, overheating, and the worst can be a blowout. For treads, if these are not deep enough, your tyres get worn easily, and there are fewer chances of gaining traction on the road.
3. Fill up the Tank
Before going for a road trip, ensure that your car has adequate engine oil. The engine oil level can be measured smoothly with the help of a dipstick. Before embarking on your journey, fill the tank appropriately so that your journey is free from hassles.
4. Check the levels of other fluids
Fluids are like lifeblood for the proper functioning of a car. Check fluids for the radiator, brakes, windshield, transmission, power steering and others. Lubrication with these fluids usually depends upon how far your vehicle has been driven since last time and how far you intend to drive in your next road trip. Your car functions steadily if you lubricate all these parts.
5. Change Air Filters
The roads are full of dust, bugs, and debris. So to prevent dust from entering the interiors of a car engine, air filters are equipped within the car. These additionally maintain the inner air quality of the car. However, after reaching the peak, it gets clogged, potentially deteriorating the performance of the engine, fuel condition, and the interior air quality. After every twelve thousand miles, air filters are needed to be replaced.
6. Check Wipers and Lights
The condition of wipers and lights need to ensure proper visibility during driving especially late and early hours. Replace the old, or worn-out wiper blades if it leaves streaks so that you can see clearly while there is rainfall, fog, precipitation, etc. Also, analyze the exterior and interior lighting accessories and change if there is any requirement.
7. Adjust Steering and Suspension
Before hitting the roads, adjust the loose steerings, worn-out bushing or mounts, damaged shocks, and vehicle bouncing or swaying as these can bring a wrench in your adventure plan and render the journey into a bumpy ride.
8. Check Exhaust System
We should not neglect the exhaust system as well. A faulty exhaust system can add troubles in the journey through decreased power, poor fuel condition, and improper venting out of toxic gases that are produced by the engines. Any hissing and popping sounds mean you should check the exhaust system. If your car is above five years old, you should consider servicing its exhaust system from professionals.
9. Check HVAC
The heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) makes way for the proper cooling system, and this is essential for interior comfort. The purpose is to clean, cool, heat, ventilate, and dehumidify the air coming from the cabin depending upon the inputs of electronic sensors and operators.
10. Give a Break to Brakes
The braking system is the crucial safety feature of your car. So before you and your family hop the car for a long drive, check the conditions of the brakes. The early warning signs of a faulty brake include squeaking, grinding, steering wheel shaking and sponginess of the brake pedals. This requires the inspection of its accessories like brake pads, hoses, drums, rotors, and brake fluids.
11. Check for the Front and Rear Windshield Washers
See whether the front and rear windshield washer jets are spraying the water evenly. If the jet sprays get clogged, then adjust them properly, and in some cars, this angle can also be managed accordingly.
12. Carry A Spare Tyre / Stepney
Additionally, it is wise to carry an inflated spare tyre along with essential toolkits to avoid a flat tyre mishap on the roads. To prevent the tyre grime getting in your hands, wear your work gloves.
13. Check the Emergency Kit
Your emergency kit should have components like flares, jumper cables, warm blankets, flashlights, first-aid box and water. Restock all the items if they are not available.
14. Test Drive your Car Before the Trip
Before finally driving the wheels for your much-awaited road trip, go for a quick test drive to identify the area of errors if any, so that you get a chance to resolve them accordingly.
Are You Carrying the Required Documents?
After running our checklist through all the technical aspects, now it is vital to get familiar with the concepts of legality. The mandatory vehicle documents that every car owner must possess are:
- Driver’s licence,
- Car insurance
- Vehicle registration certificate
- Pollution under control (PUC) certificate
Make sure to carry all the important documents with you before moving out of your house.
Some Emergency Numbers that Would be Helpful
The emergency number that should always be with a car owner is the contact number of the insurer or insurance company. No one can promise a safe journey on the road, and hence your motor insurance company can present you with roadside assistance if you have included this add-on in your comprehensive car policy. Moreover, having the numbers of your car mechanic and local police station can help you deal with extreme incidents on the road.
The list is very long, so preparing a checklist before you start your road trip will be helpful in the inspection of the entire process. Additionally, we advise you to clean your car for a fresh start and keep the paper route maps ready to make the road trip more comfortable.
In a nutshell, there there are a number of things you should keep handy when going on a road trip to ensure that just in case there is some inconvenience you are prepared. Another way to remain prepared for your road trip and other uncertainties that turn up while on the road is to purchase car insurance. It provides a layer of protection for your car against damages and for you by giving financial stability and peace of mind in times of crisis. When purchasing car insurance, make sure to do it online, it is the simplest way now. With just a few clicks you can compare the different car insurance companies, they offer and their network of cashless garages. Additionally, keep in mind that there are three main types of car insurance available in India based on the coverage they provide. The first is the third party insurance, the second the standalone own-damage insurance policy and the third the comprehensive car insurance. You can also purchase add-on covers that will further strengthen your policy. Some useful ones include the passenger cover and the return to invoice cover. It is also important that you as a customer make an informed choice when buying insurance and hence, we have put together a number of articles on car insurance to help you. Click here to read them.
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Disclaimer: This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.
Source: Car Care Council, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Auto Care Plus, Scout My Trip, Mobiloil.com, Samarins.com, Popularmechanics.com