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How to Prepare for a Road Trip

Drive safely. It’s not just a millennial thing. Older generations are hitting the roads in high numbers, too. Not only are baby boomers hitting the open road, but they are also driving to other destinations within their states or nearby states. What this means is that the average driver is getting older.

With this statistic alone, you could probably guess why common car problems can occur because of age. An older person’s reflexes might not be quick enough to respond to an emergency while driving. If there are other passengers in the car, older drivers have to think about whether they will need help if something happens while they are driving.

The good news is that you can do things to prepare for a road trip before you ever get in your car. Knowledge is your best defense when it comes to staying safe during your road trip

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next road trip:

Make sure your car is in good shape.

You don’t want to be stranded along the highway, so give your car a check just before you plan on leaving. Have your mechanic inspect any worn parts, like your tire treads or oil, to ensure you have everything you need to get where you’re going.

If you’re traveling outside of your state, or if you’re bringing along more than you and the car, then do a bit of research on your destination(s) and check for any local laws. Make sure to check on the requirements for travel between states and those about certain products such as firearms or food products.

Tire safety is another big one– chances you won’t be able to change a tire on the side of the road, so make sure they’re in good condition and that you have all of the right tools with you. You may want to consider investing in a roadside assistance plan as well if you don’t already have one.

Check windshield wipers, oil, tire pressure, and battery water level before leaving. Bring along all necessary car parts with you in the case of an emergency.

Shop for your items such as DPF at before you arrive at your destination. This way, you can avoid the stress of shopping when you are in unfamiliar territory.

 Check your oil, tire pressure, and fan belt every 3,000 miles. If it’s time for an oil change, do it before you leave on your trip. For some oil changes, less than $20 is worth the peace of mind. You don’t want to break down on the side of the road because you’ve run out of oil or an oil leak makes problems worse. Here at Parts Direct, we can help you find all of the auto parts you need to keep your car running smoothly no matter where you are headed.

Prepare for any mechanical issues by organizing your tool kit. Make sure that all of the important tools are in good working order and that all of the parts needed for a quick roadside repair are organized and easily accessible where they can be easily found.

It would help if you also had a spare tire, jack, and lug wrench in case of a flat tire. If you have a trailer hitch on your car, you should also have a hitch mount spare tire carrier or some device for your hitch to hold the spare tire firmly in place while it is not in use on top of the vehicle.

Gas up your car before you leave

Driving for hours in an empty tank is one of the most stressful experiences that come with traveling in the car. If you hit this unfortunate scenario, here is how to remove the anxiety and get to where you need to go.

  • It’s important to know the road trip basics like having travel snacks, along with your tunes (and no, the playlist doesn’t count as food), make sure you know how far you can go without refueling. You can download an app like Gas Cubby to help track your driving history.
  • It’s smart to make sure you have enough fuel in your vehicle when you depart. If not, don’t let “running on fumes” deter you from doing so. It is a safer option than putting a lot of pressure on yourself to find a gas station promptly. While several apps will show you gas stations near your location or along your route, MyGas does a fantastic job of showing gas prices at different stations.
  • To avoid gas station hassles altogether, use XL’s Fuel Stop app, which gives you real-time updates on gas prices at the nearest stations from the comfort of your smartphone. You can even use it when you have a full tank, just in case prices fall and it’s worth another stop.

Don’t forget to fill up completely at a station, which means top off your tank completely. This will give you peace of mind while driving.

Be prepared with maps, chargers, binoculars, water, flashlights, or flash drive with GPS maps.

  • Cell phone – There’s nothing worse than discovering your cell phone is dead. Don’t be caught without a charged phone; we suggest bringing at least two portable batteries and/or charging cords and a car charger. Only bring what you need. If you don’t like taking photos, leave the camera at home and store the pictures on your phone.
  • Reviews – Once you make a list of what to pack, make sure it’s complete. Double-check to make sure you don’t forget anything. You can also make a list using TripAdvisor or Yelp to see any popular attractions or restaurants in your destination.
  • AutoMap – Map out your route before you leave so you can find your way easily. Don’t forget to include alternate routes in case traffic is bad. If you have GPS, bring it with you, so you always have directions to help you get to where you need to go.

Also, check the weather just before you leave. The weather is one of the most important things to consider when planning a road trip. Make sure you check (and double-check) the weather forecast before you start driving. You will want to make sure you choose your route carefully to avoid areas prone to flooding and bad weather. Not only is this smart from a safety perspective, but it can be dangerous for your car and can shorten its lifespan.