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Simple car & trailer care tips before going on a road trip

Summer has arrived in Canada and with Covid still on our radar, many people are hitting the highway for a road or camping trip. Before you depart make sure you have done a checklist of things to ensure you won’t end up at the side of the road.

Take your car in for a professional service

This is the best money and time you will spend to ensure your car is in tip-top shape for a road trip. Tell your dealer that you are going on a road tip so they can make sure they do a thorough inspection.

On a maintenance inspection they will:

  1. Check and replace or fill all the fluids
  2. Check battery
  3. Check the treads on the tires
  4. Check the brake pads
  5. Ensure the A/C is working properly.

If any of these items have a warning, spend the money to have them fixed. The last thing you need to do is have a major car failure while having a car full of gear and kids or while towing a camper trailer.

Safety tips you can check yourself

  1. Before you hit the road make sure you have crossed these off your list
  2. Spare tire is in good shape and you have all the tools to change a tire.
  3. You have extra windshield washer and coolant in the car.
  4. Check your wiper blades that they work 100%.
  5. You have an emergency kit in case you are stranded in a remote place.
  6. Ensure you have your registration and insurance papers in the car.
  7. Invest in roadside assistance – check the service areas where you will be travelling.

Summer Road Trip

Packing and get road trip ready

One thing that inexperienced road trippers do is overpack the car. This becomes a hazard. Pack in a way that you still have good visual clearance out your windows and mirrors. If you have too much gear then consider storing more items in the travel trailer or buying or renting vehicle rooftop storage like a Thule.

Towing a trailer safely

When travelling with a full car and towing a trailer, it is the time to enjoy the journey and slow down. Follow these trailer care tips before going on a road trip:

  1. Know your capacity – what your vehicle can tow and how to pack your trailer to ensure you stay within the weight limits.
  2. Check your visibility.  Adjust the mirrors so you have enough visual clearance to see around the trailer.
  3. Check the tires and the brakes on the trailer.
  4. Know that your vehicle will handle differently.  You may want to do a few test runs before heading out on the road.
  5. Trailer towing requires increased stopping distance.
  6. Know your height. Pulling a trailer may increase your height clearance requirements.
  7. Always double and triple check your connections. When stopping for gas do another check that something has not rattled loose.
  8. Upgrade your transmission protection, as towing puts a lot of pressure on the engine. Make sure all the fluids are always on the full side.
  9. Practice reversing with the trailer as this is quite different from reversing a regular vehicle.
  10. Drive in the right lane and take corners slowly.

With good planning and a bit of practice, a road trip can definitely be one of the best summer trips you will ever take.  Hop in the car and head out with confidence.

Resources:
For car trailer care tips before going on a road trip

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