Due to COVID-19, most people have cancelled their summer plans if the vacation included a plane or cruise. On the upside, gas is cheap, crowds are small, traffic is light, and there are great hotel deals to score.
Most states are slowly re-opening and easing shelter-in-place orders so instead of sacking your summer plans and sulking at home, hit the road and take a road trip to explore a place you’ve never been.
Here are 7 tips to make sure your summer vacation road trip is safe, sane, and life-sustaining:
1) Create a COVID-19 Road Kit - Pack disposable rubber gloves, disinfecting wipes, multiple face masks, hand sanitizer or rubbing alcohol, bleach, and a chemically-resistant spray bottle.
2) Get an Oil Change - Even if you already changed it to meet the warmer weather, do two things before you hit the road. Determine how far you’ve driven on the new oil, and add that to how many miles you’ll drive by the time you get home. If the numbers add up to more than your recommended 3000 or 5000 miles, consider starting your road trip with fresh oil. Your engine won’t work as hard, giving it a longer lifespan.
3) Top off your windshield wiper fluid - Rain and road grime can turn a clear windshield into a muddy mess in a short amount of time. Without a topped-off tank of cleaning fluid, your wipers only smear the mess, making it worse. To clean your other windows, consider keeping a bottle of windshield wiper fluid in your trunk with a designated cloth or a roll of paper towels.
4) Keep your engine cool - That means making sure your radiator is full before starting the trip. If you fill it yourself, check the required fluid. Some models use 100% coolant, while others recommend a 50/50 mix with water. If you do run low, have a gallon of it in your trunk next to the wiper fluid.
5) Inspect the transmission fluid - It often gets ignored compared to the oil and coolant, but dirty fluid can adversely affect automatic shifting and leave you with a grinding sound that only gets worse. Draining and replacing it should be accomplished by a certified mechanic, like Wiygul Automotive Clinic.
6) Inspect your A/C system - When traveling during the summer months, a functioning air conditioner is a must. In some cases, there is no warning until you feel warmer air start to come out of your vents.
7) Be prepared - Remind yourself where your spare tire and jack are, in case you need to fix a flat. If needed, replace your wipers, topped off your fluids and put air in the tires before you leave. Also consider making an emergency care kit, with a flashlight, extra batteries, some ratchet straps, rope, and a basic first aid kit.
When making stops on your road trip, be sure to disinfect your car before hitting the road again. Sanitize your “high-touch” areas, which include:
- Interior & Exterior door handles
- Gear shifter
- Steering wheel
- Turn signals
- Phone chargers
- Radio & A/C buttons
This pandemic has altered our lives in so many ways. A good old-fashioned American road trip will remind you to never take your freedom for granted again. Safe travels!