We LOVE ROAD TRIPS ! Me, Naren (my husband) and my 9 yr old son Ojas. We are in our best elements when on a road trip. But we realised that many people shy away from road trips because they seem overwhelming. So this summer, we are bringing to you (the husband and me together) a Road Trip Planner series. From how to get your car ready to what to carry to how to entertain yourself, to how to chart routes. We will cover it all. So Stay Tuned !
Planning a road trip is fun though I know it can be overwhelming too sometimes. And to help you with that we are bringing you a series called “Road Trip Planner”. So whether your road trip is 200km or 2000km follow these tips and you are going to enjoy them. We have done them all, the smaller many trips to Coorg and Sakleshpur, Mid level trips to Goa, Hampi etc and then the epic ones of Bangalore – Delhi – Bangalore and the most recent Bangalore – Bhutan – Bangalore (loads on that coming up soon). And in those trips, we have had learnings which are what we will share with you over the next few weeks in this series. If there is anything, in particular, you want to know about road trips, leave a comment and we will address it!
Kicking off the series with a guest post from the man N, today he talks about a very crucial thing in road trips. How to prep your car and make it ready for the journey ahead.
So over to him.
Road Trip Planner Part 1 – How to get your car ready
The foremost constituent (other than you) of a long happy road trip is the fitness and type of the 4 wheels which is going to traverse the universe and beyond. We will not discuss the type of 4 wheels here and am sure most of us will be sensible enough not to choose a Ferrari for a drive to Leh. We have captured some of our learnings from long trips > 2000kms upto 10,000kms.
For fitness the first simple task to accomplish is do a full service at a company authorised service center and preferably complete this about 2-3weeks ahead of the trip start date. This will ensure that some unavailable parts, etc can be sourced from outside and the full service completed. One must be liberal in allowing the service vendor to replace parts if required. You might regret it en route if the guidance to the service station from your side at this stage is chaltha-hain-tho-chalne-de. Some of the special emphasis areas are –
- Engine oil, brake fluid, coolant, etc
- Suspension check
- Replace the air filter
- Check radiator for leaks
- Get a wheel alignment and balancing done even if it is not due
- New tyres could be a good option if the tyres have aged 75% or more. Try and stick to OEM specifications as far as possible. Nitrogen in the tyres feels a tad better to drive, but it is a pain to find it on highways and refill, so you are better off sticking to good old air. And don’t forget to fill air in the spare wheel
- Replace battery if it has crossed 3 years
- A good pair of performance after market wipers especially if you are driving during monsoons or in the heavy rains areas like North East
- AC cleaning and gas topping
- Deep cleaning of the interiors
- Get the music system and the speakers checked. This is going be your soul mate.
Now that we have done some checks, let’s see what your car might need on the way. Apart from fuel that you will fill at regular intervals, Some of the consumables to carry along with you would be –
- Engine oil if you are particular of a specific brand and specification
- Brake fluid
- Spare bulbs for head lights
- Puncture kit
- Electric air pump with pressure gauge
- Jump start cable
- At least 5 litres of water for the radiator
Other paraphernalia to lug along:
- 20 litre petrol can. This is really helpful to have if you are headed to some remote areas. Shell has good quality aluminium ones
- M- seal, to fix those occasional leaks if any.
- Thin metal wire and sharp tipped screws (this for fastening/fixing bumper, cladding, etc temporarily if they come out)
- Garbage bags
- Wet tissue
- Car documents in original and 1 copy
- Duplicate key (don’t forget this. We once lost our key and the duplicate was at home 560 kms at away and had to get a friend’s driver bring it to us. Yes we have had our adventures on the road. More than a few!)
- lots of music in a pen drive or ipod or your phone
- news paper for cleaning glass
- Spare battery for the key
- Small fire extinguisher
- Velcro of different sizes to hold items in the boot to the carpet
- Transparent tape to temporarily hold cracks in glass
- Car shampoo (sometimes it is very satisfying to give a thorough wash en route and drive a gleaming car). A spray bottle and a small wiper is very handy as well.
- Carpet brush
Last but not the least always target to fill gas when you are 75% empty not when you are 90% empty.
You think we have missed something? Leave it in the comments and we would have happy to include it in the post with due credit to you.
Stay tuned to the next in the series of Road Trip Planner – Essential Packing Guide!