Ah, summer is here! It’s time for the annual summer road trip, so pack up the children and don’t forget the sunblock. Right?
Well… not exactly.
Planning for a safe summer road trip takes a little more than remembering to pack your favorite bathing suit and packing extra drinks in the ice chest. Ensuring your family is safe as well as comfortable is the key to having a memorable and fun family road trip this summer. So, for now, put back the sunblock while we go over the 7 essential tips for a safe summer road trip.
No. 1 on the agenda should always be a sweeping check of your vehicle’s fluids. This includes your transmission fluid, engine oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant or antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid. You’ll want to check these levels to ensure that they are at their optimum levels (we don’t want the old Ferrari to overheat out on the open road. Or, well… the old 1998 minivan, whichever the case may be).
No. 2 on the list should be to check your tires and air pressure. This is perhaps one of the most overlooked aspects of preparing for a road trip. You see, the air pressure in your tires can impact road safety and gas mileage. If your tire pressure is too low, it could cost you more in gas. Low tire pressure also increases the risk of popping. According to Popular Mechanics, under inflation is the leading cause of blowouts. This is never more true than during the summer months. While you’re at it, go ahead and check the tread, as well. You can never be too safe.
No. 3 on your to-do list: brakes and battery. Running your Ferrari all-around town like you do (or your 1998 minivan, but whatever) can lead to some wear on your brake pads. You want to have your brake pads checked by a professional. This way, if they are showing signs of wear, you can have them replaced right on the spot. You may also want them to check your battery, as well. If it is old or has a dead cell, you don’t want to find out as you’re trying to leave that creepy motel in the middle of God-Knows-Where, Kentucky.
No. 4 should be fairly easy. You want to be sure you have extras while out on the road, so be sure to pack a well thought out safety kit before you leave. This kit should include a flashlight and extra batteries, fuses, a utility knife, jumper cables and extra fluids for the vehicle.
No. 5 on our car safety agenda would be the life-saving spare tire. Be sure that it is already filled and with the correct air pressure. You also will want to make sure you have a tire pressure gauge (just for good measure), a tire iron for removing and putting back on lug nuts, and a jack. Believe me, you do not want to be stuck on the side of the road in 90-degree heat with a spare tire, a tire iron… and no jack.
No. 6 on our essentials guide is gas and gas treatments. Treating your gas can help your car immensely when it comes to long road trips in the summer heat. A quality treatment will help by applying cleaning solutions, helping to rid your fuel system of carbon and the buildup of deposits that can otherwise affect your vehicles overall performance. Your Ferrari (1998 minivan) will thank you.
No. 7 on the list takes us to the comfort zone. Be sure to fill the ice chest with awesome drinks and snacks the whole family will enjoy. Be sure to bring the mix tapes (no show tunes mom and dad), those really cool floral print shirts (not really), and, oh yeah… now you can grab that sunblock.