1. Clean your car before you go
A group of friends packed into a car for hours can be chaotic enough. Don't make the situation worse by keeping the car filled with trash. Before driving off, take a few minutes to clean out the inside of the car. Pick up trash, empty out the glove box and do a little vacuuming. You'll thank yourself (and your friends will thank you, too). You'll have plenty of time to accumulate more fast food wrappers and gas station receipts.
2. Take back roads, but have an escape plan
If you've got some extra time, make sure to check out some of the scenic routes along the drive. The local scenery will blow you away! But please be careful – we suggest preparing an escape route and always being aware of your surroundings. Scenic tours are beautiful, but many are along small winding back roads. If anyone in the car is prone to car sickness, it's best to prepare!
3. Save money on gas
Since you're probably familiar with the best gas prices around your home, make sure to fill up before you leave. When choosing a gas station along your drive, choose an exit with multiple choices. The options right off the highway are typically more expensive, so drive into town a mile or two in order to get the best deal. Avoid filling up too often by going into cruise control on long stretches of highway.
This avoids continuous acceleration and deceleration, which wastes gas. It's also helpful to keep your speed around 60 miles per hour. This is considered the optimal speed for fuel efficiency. Any faster, and your car begins to waste gas. Finally, when driving at high speeds, use your air conditioner instead of driving with the windows down. According to HowStuffWorks.com, driving with your windows down puts more drag on your car and burns more fuel.
4. Get your car checked before you go
Road trips can be tough on your car, and nothing is worse than a breakdown in an unfamiliar area. That's why it's important to get a car inspection before leaving town. The mood would quickly fall when faced with a flat tire, engine trouble, a broken air conditioner or a dead battery. Bring your car into Christian Brothers Automotive Springfield for an oil change, and we'll offer you a free courtesy inspection! Then you'll know your car is road trip ready.
5. Be knowledgeable and prepared
Always pay attention to your gauges and warning lights. If a warning light turns on, you need to know what it means and how to handle the situation. Take a look at Christian Brothers Automotive's list of warning light symbols to get you started.
Before leaving, check the tire pressure on all 4 tires and the spare. It's also helpful to make sure you have all items necessary to change a flat tire, just in case. If something does go wrong, take a look at our handy instructions on changing a flat tire. Finally, make sure to have a basic tool kit. Include different size screwdrivers, a tire gauge, vice grips, mechanic's wire, duct tape, flashlight, jumper cables, a small gas carrier and a first aid kit.
6. Don't overdo the driving
Your reaction time at night isn't as on-point as right after you wake up in the morning. We suggest driving no more than 11 hours a day and taking frequent stops to get out of the car and walk around. If your road trip is especially long, it may be helpful to plan rest days into the schedule. Taking a break isn't only easier on your car, it lessens your burden as the driver. You might even have time for some fun, unexpected stops!
7. Skip the junk food
Staying hydrated and nutritious is a difficult, but vital part of a road trip. Rather than munching on gas station snacks, pack a cooler! Fill up with ice and, instead of stopping for fast food, go to the grocery store to load up on fruits, vegetables, nuts and sandwich meats. This way, when you do feel hungry, you'll be prepared!
Whether your vacation is a few days or a few weeks, we want you to enjoy your road trip!
Spend more time having fun with family and friends, and less time worrying about pesky repairs, clutter, fatigue or money. If an unexpected auto repair issue happens to occur, Christian Brothers Automotive is always here to help. Call the nearest Christian Brothers Automotive location and our professional staff will be happy to assist! Remember to have fun and stay safe!