You have spent a lot of time planning and looking forward to this trip. Do not let it be ruined by technical issues of any sort. Take care of your domestic affair, pay attention while you are packing and confirm any bookings that you have made. Never forget to check your ride as it will be your home for the most of this trip.
Start at the beginning
Do you have any flashing lights on your dashboard? If you haven’t taken care of them by now, it is high time that you do. There is no doubt about whether there is an issue or not if your car is telling you there is. Also, if you have any regular maintenance coming up, schedule it prior to your departure. Even though it may be just routine maintenance you do not want any surprises on the road, better safe than sorry.
Have an easy Start
Inspect your car battery just in case. See how old it is and check its life-expectancy. Check the fluid levels and refill if necessary. You want to be able to start every time you stop. Even though you have checked everything and everything seems fine bring the jumper cables.
Stay on the Road
The easiest way for you to slide off the road is if you get a flat tire, if your tires are not balanced or can’t retain traction. Have a look at all of the tires, even the spare one, and make sure they are all in the same, good shape. Make sure the thread is not too worn off and that there are no cracks, bumps or holes in them. Make sure the wheels are balanced and the tires blown to the right pressure level. Find a quiet street, have your car at a low speed and take your hands off the steering wheel. If everything is ok, your car will keep on going straight, if it goes to either one of the sides, you’ll know that there is an issue and you’ll know where to look to remove it.
Be ready for a night Ride
I assume you will wash your car prior to setting off. Once you do, pay attention to the cleanliness of your lights. Have them cleaned then and every so often while you are on the road. Make sure they all work and make sure they are aimed well. You want to get as much visibility possible but you do not want to blind other drivers.
Check the air conditioner in your car. You will not always be able to lower your car windows and it might get really hot if you do not. Check to feel if it is blowing cold air, if it is blowing strongly enough and if there is an odor. If you can smell something strange, check the AC system for any leaks or replace your air filter as it may be dirty. You would be surprised by the amount and type of dirt that can get stuck in there and you certainly would not like to breed that in.
Top up the fluids
Check all of the fluids in your car. There are quite a few but don’t be lazy. Check the oil even if it is not due for a replacement yet. If it is, look at my first piece of advice and do your regular maintenance, in this case, the oil change, prior to setting off. Your transmission fluid should be at the same level at all times otherwise there is a leak. Check that it hasn’t changed the color. Furthermore, you will be driving for hours and your engine’s temperature is bound to rise significantly so you need to ensure that the coolant fluid is at the right level. The same goes for your power steering fluid, your brake fluid, and your wiper fluid. If you don’t feel savvy enough to do all of this yourself, take your car to a car service center and have them inspect it for you.
Now that you have everything covered, you are free to go and enjoy yourself! If this is too much work for you, next year find someone else to drive the car and take care of it. In the meantime, learn how to get to places without it and look forward to your next big trip in a passenger seat.