A journey that takes you outside your country's borders will turn your car into your temporary abode. Therefore, spending lots of time on four wheels will be much more comfortable and relaxing if you know that you've done the preparation right.
Long trips will put your car to the test. Ensure that it passes the test with flying colors by taking all the necessary preparatory steps.
So, before you load up the bags and passengers, turn on the engine and drive away into the sun, prepare your car for what's to come. Here are a few tips that will make your car going abroad ready.
Assure Protection In Case of Breakdowns or Emergencies
The horror scenario for every traveler is hearing the dead engine's roar without a clue of what is happening. While there's no assurance that your trip will be problem-free, you can get insured for unexpected situations.
Consider getting breakdown cover, insurance for all the passengers, car insurance, and motor insurance. In case anything bad happens, you’ll know that the problem will be solved in no time. Not to mention that you won't have to worry about head-spinning repair costs that foreigners tend to be charged in some countries.
If you already have some insurance, check if it covers your destination. You can even get temporary insurance that will cover just the trip you're taking.
Travelers who'll take their pets on the road should research what kind of pet documents and insurances they need to get their hands on. Remember that every passenger (animals included) should be set for a long trip that's ahead of you.
Look Under the Hood
Long journeys tend to weary out the car. So, you want to make sure that your car has its fluids topped up for the long drive.
The fluids you want to check are:
- Brake fluid
- Engine oil
- Power steering fluid
- Windscreen washer fluid
This check can be done by any driver. If you aren't sure how to do it, turn to the car's handbook. The handbook will let you know where the brake and coolant reservoirs are as well as where the oil dipstick is.
Inspect the Lights, Tires, and Brakes
Once you close the hood, it's time to check the sturdy components. The key elements that need to work flawlessly are lights, tires, and brakes.
Have someone look at the lights as you turn them on to see if they work properly. You also want to pack spare light bulbs just in case.
When it comes to tires, you need to focus on two things: tire pressure and tread depth. Check if the tire pressure is correct and give them a little pump of air if needed. Secondly, inspect whether the tread depth is above the legal requirement (1.6 mm).
Lastly, you want to ensure that your car stops instantly when you hit those breaks. For a smooth and safe drive, your brake pads mustn’t be warned out. If the brakes are too thin, they’ll feel soft, and you might hear grinding sounds. If this is the case, get them replaced.
Take Your Car on a Test Drive
Give your car a test drive to see how it behaves on the road. Don't turn on the music so that you can spot any unusual sounds.
Observe whether your car responds well to every turn and stop. Check the air-conditioning by letting it run during the drive.
Even a 15-minute drive can be enough to see if your car is cruising without any flaw. If you find anything suspicious, better take it to your mechanic for a quick examination. You’ll feel safer on the road knowing that your car is running smoothly.
Don’t worry if you aren’t a real car whisperer. Ask a family member or a friend to do the test instead of you.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
You’ll have a lovely trip, there’s no doubt about that. However, you’ll feel even more relaxed if you have everything set in case of an emergency.
For a car emergency, you want to prepare for the flat tire scenario. So, add a spare tire as well as a tire changing kit. In addition, you’ll need jumper cables and a battery charger. You can also add a bottle of windshield washer fluid since it doesn’t take up much space.
Once you prepare your car for emergencies, it's time for the passengers. Here are a few things you should always keep in your car:
- First aid kit
- High-visibility vests
- Bottled water
- Warm clothing
- Long-lasting snacks
With the back-ups all set, you'll have no reason to panic if you find yourself in an inconvenient situation. An experienced traveler always prepares for both the best and the worst.
Clean Up Your Car
You want to start your journey with a spotless car. Rarely one can keep their car perfectly organized at all times. That’s why you must do some “spring cleaning” before going abroad.
Look into every crack of your car and throw out what you don't need. Vacuum thoroughly on the inside and add some fragrance if that's what you like.
Wash your car nicely, paying extra attention to the windshield. You'll be staring through that glass for quite some time, so you want it clean and shining.
Read Up On the Local Laws
Driving rules differ from country to country. You don’t want to find yourself in an unpleasant situation because you didn’t do the research.
Do some digging on the local driving laws in your destination country. If you come across rules you can’t comprehend or translate, you can turn to an online translation service for help.
That effort you invest in collecting information will assure you a worry-free journey. When you are stepping onto someone else's turf, you want to be respectful and complying.
A few checks, some research, and several papers later, you'll be all set to pack your bags and let the road carry you into a new adventure. You can't rely on your car to get you from one point to another without an issue if you don't prepare it for the challenges ahead. So, make sure that you follow through with the preparation without skipping any step, and your metal friend won't let you down.
Merissa Moore is a content writer and editor. She turned her biggest passion – writing – into a career thanks to her insightful research and impeccable writing skills. Her curiosity and diligent research have led her to writing jobs in various industries. Merissa is consistently working on improving her skills through various seminars and courses. In her free time, she likes to hike and read.