Driving cross country, it?s considered the ultimate road trip. Having the independence of seeing the Country in a way that is not possible by taking a plane is a very satisfying and liberating experience. The drive can also be a tough one. For those who haven?t driven for long periods of time, the trip can be grueling unless you?re mentally and physically prepared. I have made the trip four times, each time getting easier gaining experience of the do?s and don?ts related to the drive. Your trip needs to be well planned out starting with what time of the year you want to travel to how much weight is in the car. These factors will seriously affect your trip and can determine how long it will take you to get to your destination.
In my experience, spring and fall are best for traveling. Your car will perform better in milder weather; you?ll burn less oil and get better gas mileage not running your air conditioner if traveling in the summer heat which is extremely hard on your car, and you?ll also avoid ice and snow if traveling in the winter. Roads are a lot rougher in the winter since icy roads and snow take their toll creating potholes and other road hazards.
Milder weather will also make your trip easier if you happen to blow out a tire or run into some car trouble. Sitting in a car that does not start in the heat of the summer or cold of winter is not fun. If you happen to breakdown, you can still enjoy being outdoors while waiting for assistance.
Checking your tires for correct pressure and foreign objects like nails or worn treads is a necessity before starting your journey. If you see anything out of the ordinary on your tires, have them checked or replaced by a mechanic before the trip. And of course, you absolutely must check your spare. Your spare will be a life saver if you blow a tire in the middle of nowhere. Next, an oil change. During the course of the 3000 plus miles you?ll be driving, you?ll have used up the recommended duration of a normal oil change interval in a matter of a few days. A few extra quarts of oil is a good idea if your car is burning more than normal amount of oil. In the same category as oil, the other vital fluids in your car should be checked; radiator, brake, power steering and even windshield wiper fluid must be checked and filled if low.
Now that your car is in shape to make the journey, you need to pack for the trip. Depending on who is traveling with you, there are a few options to consider. Comfortable clothes like sweats are ideal since you?ll be sitting for long periods of time. Having a light weatherproof jacket is also needed. Flashlight, batteries, a gallon of water are a must have. Getting a gas card is something to look into, having a separate card that is not in your wallet but in your glove compartment is a smart idea just in case you happen to loose your wallet, you can still buy gas and get to your destination.
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Short note about the author
Justin Howley is a writer and owner of the Ultimate Auto Network. Visit the Ultimate Auto Network for auto repair articles and more.