(Contributed post for North American readers)
Are you planning a road trip on your motorbike or in your car? Sure you must be feeling the adrenaline rush! However to live up to your expectations and to make your trip a memorable one, there are certain things that you need to prepare for.
Before you set off on a trip, it is suggested that you prepare your car or motorbike for the journey so you don’t hit any snags while driving on the road.
To ensure a hassle-free adventure on the outskirts or to another city, here’s a quick rundown of the things that you should not miss:
1. Wisely Choose Your Ride
Whether you are renting a motorbike or riding your personal motorbike, it is crucial to have a comfortable ride. If possible, you can always make some modifications to improve the comfort level.
2. Pack Smart and Light
Next thing is to prioritize the essential items and make a list before you are set to pack. Go for Saddlebags, as you can fix them on the back seat or sides of the motorbike.
How about tank bags and tail bags that have magnets to hug your tank right away? Another smart thing that you can do is to carry disposable stuff, which is lightweight and easy to discard. Furthermore, replace the bottles with sachets and carrying unnecessary clothes is a big no.
3. Carry Some Bike Tools/Spare Parts such as:
- Battery fuses
- Headlight bulb
- Multi-functional screwdriver
- Clutch, cable, plier, etc.
Do not just rely on your bike insurance policy and make sure that you carry at least some of these spare parts when on a road trip. In case your motorbike breaks down, it will help you handle the situation effortlessly. Also add, puncture mend kit in your checklist.
4. Stay Hydrated
Most of us give it a backseat while considering all other aspects of a motorbike road trip. However, staying hydrated is one the most important aspects of any road trip. You should have a proper back up to stay hydrated while on the go. Carrying a lightweight hydration pack is could be a smart move.
Check the Following If You Are Planning To Take a Car Trip–
- Brake Oil
- Engine oil
- Power steering fluid
- Wiper fluid
- Differential fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Clutch Plates ( If it is an old car)
You can get them changed or get a top-up done to the recommended levels as mentioned in your car manual.
1. Check the Belts and Hoses
Some basic maintenance tips can help prevent belt and hose failure. Failure to any of them can overheat your engine; lead to malfunction of power steering and battery discharge.
Engine overheating can cost you exorbitantly and can leave you stranded before your road trip. If a hose leaks coolant the cooling system becomes inoperable.
New cars have a single belt and in old cars, there is more than one engine belt. Inspect your car belts regularly for wear and tear.
How to do it? Turn the belt to one side to check the surface. You should replace it if it is frayed and broken.
Also, check the heater and radiator hoses. If it looks puffed up or cracked, immediately replace it.
2. Inspect the Car Tyres
The condition of your car tyres plays an important role. But when is the need to replace them?
If the depth of the tread is lesser than 1.6mm or you see any cracks or cuts in the sidewall, you should get your tyres replaced.
Get the wheel alignment also done, if you see any uneven tread.
Use a calibrated gauge to measure the tyre pressure. Do not forget to check the spare tyre, as it will come handy if one of the tyres is damaged. If there are any weather or route specific suggestions for tyre pressure, you should consider that as well.
3. Inspect the Air Filters
Do you remember the last time when you changed the air filter of your engine? If you will check it now, you will find so much dirt and debris that you will have to replace it.
It is the right time to check your cabin’s air filters also and replace them if they are dirty – if you want to breathe quality air.
4. Battery Health
Your car batteries can last for 3 to 5 years. You can find it with the help of a voltmeter.
If the battery charge drops down to 12 volts, your battery needs a replacement.
Check the battery terminal for – corrosion, dirt, cable damage and loose connections.
If you find some dirt or impact of corrosion, do not fret – you can remove it with a mix of water and baking soda. In case of damaged terminals, battery replacement is inevitable.
5. Lights and Wipers Should Be In Good Working Condition
While testing your car lights, make sure that the lights are in good working condition. And the wipers should give you a clear view ahead.
Check both the low beam and high beam of the headlights. Test the taillights and brake lights also. It is advisable to conduct the test at night.
In case it is not functioning, you can get it fixed at one of the workshops.
6. Assess the Brake -Pads
You could check if the brake pedal has turned soft after replacing the fluid. You could wear pads to do that just to avoid the odds of losing the brakes while driving on a steep downhill. In case you are not sure about the replacement thing, call up a mechanic for the check-up.
Despite so much preparation and maintenance of your car before your road trip, it still does not guarantee a trouble-free ride.
So pack a roadside safety kit and ensure that you have roadside assistance cover as part of your car insurance policy.
7. Check the Suspension System
Check the struts, shocks and coil springs of your car. The suspension of your car absorbs the bumps in the road. It offers you a comfortable ride and keeps you safe.
Go for a test drive. If the suspension bottoms out while pulling back out of a driveway, let your mechanic have a look at the struts, shocks and coil springs. The same goes if your car does a nose dive when you press accelerator or apply brakes.
Over to you!
Now your car/motorbike is ready for the upcoming road trip! But, if you are planning to drive to some of the neighboring cities, check if you are carrying all the essential items with you.
Moreover, if you drive often to the outskirts or to different cities make sure you have inter-city vehicle insurance policy. If your current plan doesn’t provide it, you can consider getting one.