Thinking about going on a road trip to some exotic destinations? Well, it needs to be pre-planning (with a lot of practicalities involved). Successful road-trips are the consequences of careful planning. Below is a list of things which are classified as the ‘must-haves’ for a great trip:
Preparing Your Car
A) Choosing Which Car to Take
It goes without saying that Indian roads are utterly unpredictable, with natural extreme landscapes and man-made potholes. So the best thing would be to pick up a car which can brave the ravages of the Indian terrains. Never fall for taking up a modern car, and not your old sturdy one. Your recently purchased SUV might be the one to bag eyeballs, but the safest option would be to hop on your decade-old Santro or Land Rover, on which you can rely. Your choice of car would also depend on the destination. For instance, for rugged terrains of the Himalayan regions, the north-eastern states, and the Indian plateau, a Bolero, or a Scorpio, or even an Outlander would be your best friend.
B) Checking the Fluids
- Fluids include the engine oil, coolant (antifreeze), transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid and windshield washer fluid. Change the engine oil as per the specifications of your car, but never surpass the hatch marks. The same goes for the other fluids.
- Undoubtedly, the most important fluid is your engine oil. You can check it yourself by following the steps below-
1) Park your car, warm it and stop the engine.
2) Allow the oil to drain down the oil pan for a few minutes.
3) Pull out the engine oil dipstick, wipe it with a clean piece of cloth and insert it back fully.
4)Pull it out again. Ensure that the level is close to the ‘full’ mark on the dipstick.
5) If the oil in the dipstick appears yellow or light brown, well and good. But if it appears black and tar-like, it would be best to change it.
- The transmission fluid should be checked while the car is running. Care should be taken as to not overfill it.
- If you are not able to distinguish between the fluids, either check your car manual or take the car to a garage.
- Additionally, have a pack each of engine oil and coolant. Most probably, these two would be what you may run out of in your journey.
C) Checking Tires, Wires, Lights and other Things
- Ensure that there is no wear or tear in the tires. Inflate your tires as per your manufacturer’s air pressure rating. Do not forget to take a spare tire (be certain that it is full of air) for any unforeseen misfortune with the tires in use. Most importantly, learn how to change tires.
- Also, keep an extra inner tube. Most highway repair shops do not have the facilities to replace tubeless tires.
- Check the spark plug wires for good contact and fixes, and the cables for tightness.
- Check other electrics like lights, horns, reverse light, brake light, turn signals, dash lights and interior lighting. Have fog-lights fitted in case you encounter extreme weather conditions.
- Check the alternator and timing belt for cracks, missing teeth, etc. Replace them for certain if they have any flaws.
- Be certain that there are no leaking hoses (sucking sounds may point out vacuum leaks).
- Check the wipers for cracks and replace them if needed.
D) Keeping Tabs on Batteries and Air Filters
- Dead batteries are no fun, so make sure that the battery is in good condition: its terminals free from each other, and from corrosion. The self-life of a new battery is generally between 3-6 years, so if your batteries are 4 or 5 years old, it would be wise to get new ones. Even when the batteries are only a few years old, check visually for any acid leaks, cracks or any other damage.
- For checking the air filter, pull it out. If it is all black, it is time for a new one (a dirty air filter causes lack of power). Ideally, new air filters should be installed for better gas mileage.
E) Have an Emergency Kit
- This kit should have all the tools needed for roadside repairs, like jumper cables, jack, etc. Another plus would be to carry a portable power source, which can charge mobile phones and other electronic devices with a USB cable, just in case if your battery dies, leaving you in a lurch.
- If you have access to the 24-hour roadside assistance service, carry the service’s number.
- Carry a photocopy of the documentations of your car, like the registration book and the insurance papers.
F) Owner’s Manual: Your Car’s Bible
Never forget to keep the vehicle’s owner manual in your glove box. It contains plenty of information about the much-needed ‘hows’ like how to tow a trailer, how to replace a flat tire with a new one, how to jump-start the car if the battery dies, etc.
If you do not have an owner manual, you can always download it, or order printed copy from your local cars’ dealer.
G). GPS Navigation System/Map
A GPS device with traffic information, along with an exit guide can help you avoid road congestion and find suitable pit stop locations. Incidentally, if something unfortunate happens, a GPS navigator can help direct emergency services to your location.
Other Essential Equipments:
You must have a basic set of the following things-
1. First Aid Kit
3. Approximately 20 feet of a long nylon rope which can be needed for toeing your car.
4. Phone Charger
5. Duplicate Keys (In case you lock the car and forget the keys inside!)
7. Road Helpline Numbers/Service Center Contacts
8. Puncture Repair Kit for tubeless tires
Other than all the above-mentioned things, you have the wide-open road with its arms wide open, beckoning you to embark on a journey to new places. Follow our road trip preparation guide and enjoy your trip; the experience will be with you for your whole life!
We have a pre-made list of some exquisite locations for your road trip. Check it here- Weekend Getaways From Delhi-NCR.
Also check this hip playlist of- 15 Must Have Songs For Your Road Trip.
Read our article on Road Trip Stereotypes to discover the weirdos that you find on a common road trip.