Road Trip: 5 things to do before heading out

summer-road-canada

Summer is in full swing and road trip season is happening! Following the next 5 steps will help you to drive safely and avoid any mechanical issues all summer long.

Wax the car

Many drivers like to take their car out and about during the summer. There is nothing like a great coat of fresh wax to rejuvenate how your vehicle looks. A fresh coat of wax also makes removing dirt and bug guts that much easier.

Since the main idea behind a wax is to protect and preserve the paint, you always want to thoroughly wash your car before you apply a wax. There's no sense in trapping dirt and water underneath the protective wax, so be sure to do a through job with quality car washing liquid and a microfibre or sheepskin wash mitt. Avoid using a sponge as the pores can trap dirt and drag it along, scratching your paint.

While washing and waxing is very popular in the summer, be sure to avoid doing it in direct sunlight. Why? Because when the temperature is high and you’re in direct sunlight, noticeable water spots can form only to then be sealed in by the wax, making them even more noticeable.

The evening is probably the best time to wash and wax a car. Once the sun starts to go down, begin to wash your car and wax it once the temperature drops a little bit. See "How to wax your car in three easy steps."

Windshield Sunshade

You may be surprised to find out how high temperatures can soar within the interior of a car during a hot, sunny day.

A sunshade (aka UV Heat Shield) helps to reduce interior temperature and protect the interior from damaging UV rays that penetrate the front windshield.

Many manufacturers offer custom-patterned windshield shades that fit the outline of their vehicles’ windshields. Check with your dealership’s part department to see if one is available for your vehicle.

Check tire pressures

Checking your tires is crucial in the summer. Remember, the contact patch of most tires is only about the size of your hand and it has to handle a lot more weight and force than the shoe that is on your foot.

Long road trips with humongous loads and high temperatures can stress your Michelins to the max. And, obviously, if the tires go, you go!

Make sure that you have the correct tire pressure in all five tires. Why five? Because most cars have a spare tire and even the space saver spare tire needs to have its pressure checked!

Inflate your tire to the level recommended by what your vehicle manufacturer recommends, which should be listed on the side of the driver's door, on the fuel filler cap door, or in the owner's manual. Don't confuse the "maximum tire pressure" listed on the sidewall of the tire with the "recommended tire pressure" provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle.

While it’s okay to inflate your tires to the "maximum tire pressure" number, "Recommended tire pressure" is the ideal pressure you want in your tires. If you're carrying an extra heavy load, follow the recommendation for "heavy loads," which is usually listed in the manual.

Pack Smart

Check your vehicle’s load capacity to make sure you aren’t putting too much weight in the car. On most new cars, the total weight you can carry is printed on the door placard inside the driver’s door jam. This load rating includes all the passengers and cargo.

With extra weight comes extra fuel consumption, so try to carry only what you need and some emergency supplies. If you’re not using the roof rack, remove it (if possible) as it can significantly worsen your fuel economy.

If you have to carry a roof top cargo box, fill it only with light bulky items as adding items on the roof increases the vehicle’s centre of gravity and heavy loads on the roof can make the vehicle more difficult to handle in emergency situations.

Schedule a check-up

Schedule a check-up before you head out on the road. Performing basic maintenance on your vehicle before you head out such as checking wipers and fluid levels can help you to avoid issues while away from home.

If it is almost time to get the oil changed, do it before you leave. A long trip can put additional stress on your motor. Also don't think that adding extra oil by yourself will work like an oil change, because that does not get rid of the sludge from old used oil. You may not realize this due to the fact that your continuously adding new cleaner oil which makes it appear as if it's clean oil.

Now that you’ve followed all 5 of these steps, just roll down the windows, turn on the radio and enjoy the open road!

About the Author

Andrew Ling's picture

Andrew Ling is a car and technology nut. His baby pictures nearly all comprise of him holding a toy car in one hand, and an orange spoon in the other. It also explains his prolific love for food and food photography.

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