We now have all considered simply testing of actuality for some time and hitting the open highway. Simply comply with it to the top and flip a coin to see if we go left or proper. Perhaps we find yourself on the coast listening to the sound of waves crashing towards the shore line.
Perhaps we find yourself within the mid west amongst infinite seas of gold watching the wheat blow rhythmically within the wind. Perhaps we find yourself within the mountains excessive above the lights of daily life so we will get a greater view of the celebrities.
Or worse, possibly you find yourself damaged down within the “center of nowhere” with no cellular phone service. (This seems to be a recurring theme for our household cross nation highway journeys, however extra on that in one other article.)
That’s what occurred to us on our very first cross nation highway journey. I had taken each precaution I may consider and executed all the preventative upkeep all of the “previous timers” had stated to do within the months main as much as our first journey.
But right here we’re, for the primary time, in an empty parking zone making an attempt to repair the transmission with tape and zip ties to make it again to “someplace”. (The tape and zip ties labored by the best way)
Now this breakdown couldn’t have been foreseen (on the time). It seems one of many strains from the transmission to the transmission cooler simply blew itself out of the aspect of the transmission. It wouldn’t be till years afterward our approach to Yellowstone that I might uncover why it occurred and take steps to remedy the issue.
So earlier than I let you know the story of how we bought again on the highway that evening, lets first go over a few of the pre-trip steps we took to ensure we wouldn’t find yourself on this precise state of affairs, and a few of the issues we didn’t assume to do however have now made certain are a part of the preparing section of our cross nation journeys.
Let’s first go over a few of the extra apparent stuff you need to do earlier than hitting the highway like getting a contemporary oil change, checking your tire strain, and topping off all of your fluids.
- Oil Change
- Are you going exceed the mileage in your subsequent due change? In that case, or if you’re undecided, Get a contemporary oil change simply earlier than you permit.
- Tire Stress
- Make sure that your tires are stuffed to the advisable air strain earlier than you permit. If you’re undecided what that strain is, open your driver door, and look on the door jamb. There ought to be a sticker with the right strain to inflate your tires too.
- Conserving your tires on the proper strain will prolong the lifetime of your tire, in addition to allow you to get higher gasoline mileage.
- Radiator Fluid
- DO NOT OPEN THE RADIATOR IF YOUR ENGINE IS HOT.
- Some automobiles solely require that the overflow tank be stuffed and can high themselves off, others require that the radiator cap be taken off to be stuffed. Be sure to use the best coolant and process in your particular automobile. If you’re not sure, the rep at your native auto elements retailer can lookup which sort you want.
- Windshield Washer Fluid
- It is a seasonal consideration. Within the hotter months, search for a fluid that may assist to scrub bugs off the windshield. After lots of of miles you may have fairly the gathering gooey smears on the windshield. Within the winter months search for a fluid with de-icing properties to stop it from freezing and to assist clear the frost off the windshield.
- Brake Fluid
- Do you want DOT-3 or DOT-4? Once more, if you’re undecided ask your auto elements retailer rep, Make sure that it’s stuffed to the complete line, however not previous it. The very last thing you need is to be coming down a steep mountain highway and never have the ability to cease.
- Energy Steering Fluid
- One other vital one to ensure is stuffed to the complete line however not previous. You’re going to be on the highway for lots of, or probably 1000’s of miles this journey. Conserving this full will guarantee your tires are simple to show, and extra importantly, that they don’t instantly grow to be tough to show at a crucial second.
- Transmission Fluid
- Final however not least of the below the hood checks is the trans fluid. This one is on the top of the checklist as a result of it sometimes must be checked with the engine operating, AFTER driving it just a few miles to get it heat. Take your trip across the block just a few instances and get it as much as regular working temperature. While you get again, go away the automobile operating and pop the hood. MAKE SURE YOU KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM THE RADIATOR FANS.
- Pull your transmission dip stick. Wipe it clear with paper towel, then slide all of it the best way again in, and pull it out once more. Now examine to ensure the fluid is between the “Good” strains. Whether it is under, then add some with a funnel by pouring it down the identical tube the dip stick goes it. Once more, it is very important make sure that it isn’t over stuffed, as that may trigger extra strain, which might result in a break down in the midst of Oklahoma. (see above image)
Now that checklist could seem fairly apparent, however it by no means hurts to have it in your guidelines. The next checklist is made up of issues which have both bitten us within the rear finish, and are actually on our checklist, or that we now have picked up from different nomads alongside the best way.
The Forgotten Objects:
- Windshield wipers
- It’s possible you’ll not even discover how dangerous your windshield wipers have gotten over time, or solely give it some thought when it’s raining and you’ve got that one streaky spot proper throughout the place it is advisable to see. Throw a contemporary pair of seasonally applicable windshield wipers in your rig earlier than hitting the highway. You by no means know when foul climate will hit, and having the ability to see the brake lights in entrance of you isn’t one thing to depart to probability.
- First help equipment
- Nobody plans on getting a lower on their finger, or stung by a bee, or burned on a camp fireplace, however it occurs. When you have an allergy, ensure you’ve bought the best issues with you want benadryl, to stave off any undesirable signs. You may end up 30 or 40 miles from the closest open drug retailer when one thing occurs.
- Jumper cables
- Undoubtedly need to ensure you have a set below the seat or within the trunk of the automobile. When was the final time you place a contemporary battery below the hood? They don’t final endlessly, they usually by no means give out while you’re in entrance of the auto elements retailer.
- Did you examine the air in your spare tire?
- This is without doubt one of the mostly missed pre-trip chores. Odds are you haven’t even given it a second thought. The air strain will seep out over time, and there’s nothing extra aggravating than lastly getting the flat tire off your automobile, placing the spare on, decreasing the jack solely to search out out, your spare tire is flat too.
- Does your automobile also have a spare tire?
- Many more moderen autos don’t even include a spare. Did you simply assume its below the ground mat within the trunk? It will not be. If you are out within the driveway checking to make sure, have a look and ensure you have a approach to jack up your automobile should you want too.
- I can’t stress this one sufficient. Whether or not you’ve got a spare tire or not, preserve a can in your automobile. In the event you get a flat on a steep mountain highway, or on a darkish freeway, or another sketchy state of affairs, its a lot simpler and safer to squirt some fix-a-flat in your tire for 30 seconds, and get your self to a safer, degree, effectively lit parking zone away from the oncoming site visitors to work in your automobile.
- Tire Plug Package
- If you know the way to make use of one, throw one in your glove field. It’s possible you’ll get a gap greater than the fix-a-flat can deal with within the tread of your tire, however you could possibly plug it, then hit it with the fix-a-flat to get your self off the freeway.
- Spare fluids
- Does your truck burn oil like mine does? What a couple of transmission or energy steering leak? Throw a small milk crate within the trunk with some spare fluids in it to maintain them from rolling round, and should you want them, you’ll have them helpful as an alternative of being stranded over a 5 greenback quart of fluid.
- Rest room paper
- Preserve a roll within the middle console for when ya want it. Lets face it guys, we now have it simple. If we instantly get the uncontrollable urge whereas altering that tire, its a straightforward drawback for us. However go forward and inform your stunning bride that she’s bought to carry it till the tow truck will get right here since you didn’t pack the fix-a-flat, after which when she will’t maintain it anymore and has to carry on to the guard rail and lean again with out slipping and if that every one goes effectively that she has to make use of leaves since you threw away the quick meals bag with the napkins in it. That ought to make for a enjoyable night proper?
Clearly you may’t pack a spare the whole lot for each state of affairs, however these few objects received’t take up a lot room and I’ve observed with an older automobile like our 97 GMC Suburban they are usually the issues we’d like most frequently.
Did you see one thing on our checklist that you just didn’t consider?
Do you’ve got one thing in your pre-trip checklist that we didn’t consider?
Remark and tell us! We’d love to listen to from you and your remark may make a distinction for a fellow nomad on the aspect of the highway at 2am!
Comfortable Travels. -Doug