Contrary to popular belief, the practice of taking a long drive to reach a far-off destination has not become obsolete. Sure, it would be quicker and more convenient to just fly, but there are still several advantages of personally handling a gas-powered machine on your way to your destination. For one, the practice is still common for individuals on vacation or visiting family members.
In countries and regions where the roads seem to stretch on forever, there is also the call of the road, which tempts people to put the pedal to the metal. Imagine driving while being surrounded by nature, whether it is coniferous trees in temperate regions, rocky mountains, and canyons and sand dunes in desert areas.
Revving the engine and feeling the wind on your face evokes images of freedom on the open road. But even though going on that dream ride may simply be a vacation leave away, it is essential to make sure your vehicle is up to the challenge as well. Nobody wishes to end up getting stranded in the middle of nowhere when their engine dies.
To avoid mishaps and maximize the fun and pleasure of a long drive, a car service center based in Dubai shares a few tips on what you need to check and handle before getting out of the driveway.
Clean your car regularly
Get your car washed and vacuumed, not just before the trip but on a regular basis. Even if you don’t mind the occasional gum wrapper underneath the mat, crumpled napkin on the floor, or receipt inside the glove compartment box, it will all add up at some point. Car clutter can be particularly uncomfortable and a potential source of embarrassment when you are on a trip with your kids, other members of the family, or even your friends.
The tiniest of food particles can start making a stench. Your dog or cat’s strands of fur will accumulate and get on your clothes and luggage. The glove compartment will be filled with useless receipts to the point that you’ll have difficulty looking for your car insurance when you need to.
You get the drift.
Instead of waiting for the dams to break, get your car cleaned every few days or so. It doesn’t have to be a full car wash, but just make sure to clean stains and remove everything that’s considered trash.
Maintain cleanliness, and you are in a better chance of maintaining your sanity during the ride.
Get your car checked
Around a week before you go on your planned drive, let your mechanic inspect and run a series of car diagnostic tests. Some of the major areas you need to have checked include the tires, brakes, the air conditioning unit, brakes, fluid levels, other parts of the engine and the car.
While having your car serviced, check the tire treads carefully to ensure that they are still within the safe limits of wear and tear. Worn tires have greater difficulty gripping the road. With worn out or bald tires, you will have trouble braking or controlling your vehicle when driving on snow-covered or wet roads.
Replace your tires if the treads show a lot of wear and tear. When should you do this? Experts recommend replacing the tires when the groove is less than 4/32th of an inch, just to be safe.
Prepare your repair gear
Always make sure that you have a spare tire that is in good condition, a car jack, extra wipers, windshield fluid, jumper cables, plastic bags, and tools packed in the trunk. You may never know if and when you’ll need to use some elbow grease and do some minor repairs on the road. The plastic bags, on the other hand, will come in handy for everything else that may happen during the trip from storing trash to stomach contents if kids are going.
Bring anything that you think you may need in the event of your car breaking down. In addition to car tools such as screwdrivers and wrenches, some drivers opt to carry work gloves and a tarp or mat. Albeit optional, having these accessories around can make fixing the vehicle a bit less rough and dirty. Planning a vacation long drive road trip is a good idea to spend time with your family.
Fill up your tank
It may also be worthwhile to carry a gallon or two of gasoline in a jerry can at the back of your vehicle. There is no way of knowing how well your GPS will work when you’re away from civilization, or how far the next gasoline station will be.
Some people don’t consider carrying a jerry can full of gasoline to be a safe idea, especially when driving in scorching weather. If you have similar concerns, make sure you fill up your tank before you go and to add gasoline whenever you pass by a fuel station, and your gas is half empty. Filling up when your tank is half empty may sound extreme, but consider it as a precaution— you don’t want to end up getting stranded because your vehicle ran out of juice.
Avail of roadside assistance services
Depending on where you reside or plan to drive around, the conditions for availing of roadside assistance services can vary.
For instance, in the US, applying for a membership to the American Automobile Association or the AAA offers the option of adding roadside assistance to your existing auto insurance. In other countries, you may have the option of paying for the service separately from your insurance.
Roadside assistance may cost more upfront, but the benefits go a long way. Even with making the best preparations, there is no way of telling what can happen during your journey. By having roadside assistance, you don’t have to worry about getting help when the car breaks down for any reason.
Driving on an open road without any worries is the quintessential concept of freedom. However, all the fun and excitement can quickly diminish when your vehicle breaks down.
Whether you are on a journey by yourself or with people you love, it is essential to keep all the passengers safe during the trip. Keep these tips in mind and make all the necessary preparations to ensure that you and your fellow travelers have a smooth ride.
Mahesh Rohra is the Director of Arabian Automobiles LLC – AW Rostamani Automotive Group, a trailblazer in the automotive fraternity with a legacy of over 50 years. AUTOTRUST by AW Rostamani is the largest automotive multi-brand one-stop shop in the UAE where you can buy and sell quality pre-owned cars.