Road Trip Prep

Back to School Approaching

Larry Jewett - July 09, 2013 09:43 AM

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ImageRoyal Purple

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Before you know it, the fun carefree days of summer will quickly yield to the beginning of a new school year. If you’re a college freshman, it could mean your first solo long distance road trip. To make sure you and your vehicle are ready, Royal Purple offers four tips to follow before getting on the road.

Enjoy the Ride
Allow an extra day (or more) for travel. This allows you to drive rested, get some sightseeing in and arrive early to your destination. This kind of planning also enables you to save gas and money as opposed to driving around aimlessly. Make your plans using a trip planning website, pre-planning where to stay the night and finding local restaurants to sample cuisine away from the big chains.

Know Where You’re Going 
With the convenience of smartphones and in-car navigation systems, the paper map has gone the way of the dinosaur. It’s important to know how long it will take to get to your destination and if there are any accidents, road closures or construction planned along your route that may cause an unforeseen delay. Before you leave, make sure your GPS is updated. Many state DOT systems have online resources to alert drivers. For example, the state of California maintains a database on the Caltrans website that drivers can access for current road conditions on major highways anywhere in the state.

Know Who to Call In Case of Emergency
Create a list of contacts to call in case of emergency. Put a copy in your wallet and in the glove box for easy access. Even better, put the numbers in your phone before you leave. These should include, but aren’t limited to:
•         Relatives or Friends in the Area
•         Roadside Assistance Services such as AAA
•         Landlord or Dormitory Administrator

Take Care of Your Ride
According to the Car Care Council, an estimated 77 percent of cars on the road need some sort of service or parts replacement.

There’s nothing worse than getting stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. Inspect your tires for signs of abnormal wear, looking for worn tread. Locate where your spare tire and jack are stored in your car. If you don’t know how to change a tire, you can find a video on YouTube or visit your local mechanic. If you go the video route, make sure you practice before you hit the road.

Check the lubricants and fluids in your car. Know how to check the level of oil, replace windshield washer fluid and add coolant. Note: Do not attempt to remove a radiator cap if your car has been running. Steam builds up during driving and could cause serious burns if removed before allowing the car to cool down. Try using synthetic motor oil like Royal Purple. Not only can you save money by going longer between oil changes, you can also extend the life of your car.