Road trips are fun beyond imagination, but are also risky and unpredictable. A good majority of fun, off-road vacations are ruined because of car trouble, which is guaranteed on any decent road trip. Some vehicle problems are unforeseeable, but most can be prevented by taking simple precautions. Read ahead to find out the most common problems drivers face off-road, and how to avoid them:
1. Driving trouble on rocky terrain
For example, say you are driving through the rough and craggy terrain of the outback, and suddenly your car simply refuses to move forward. Even if you have a posh, 4-wheel ride, your tires act differently on jagged landscapes than on carpeted roads. You’ll need to “air down” your tires using a specialized deflator to navigate the terrain, and then use an air compressor to pump them back into shape. So don’t forget to pack these necessary tools on your road trip.
2. The brakes stop working in the middle of nowhere
Most drivers neglect to take their vehicles for absolutely essential brake and clutch repairs on time. As a result, many run into extremely dangerous brake trouble on tough terrain. Before you embark on a road trip, you need to take the vehicle for a general check-up, and ask the auto technician to specially inspect the brake fluid. This fluid has a tendency to attract contaminants, so in such a case it has to be replaced. If your vehicle makes a grinding noise while braking, that’s a good indication that they need to be checked.
3. Can’t see the road in the evenings
Oxidization is a common problem that affects the brightness of headlights. The last thing you need is bad headlights affecting that perilous evening drive. So you need to clean your headlights before embarking on any road trip. Just rubbing the front of the lens is not good enough. You’ll need to use glass cleaner or “de-oxidation” solution to remove the cloudiness. If you see droplets of moisture on the inside of the lens, replace them.
4. Car won’t start at all
This is basically any road tripper’s nightmare. Engine trouble begins with bad car batteries. The hot summer months in particular take a toll on car batteries with cooling systems draining power. So when you take you vehicle for brake and clutch repairs, you should ask the mechanic to also check if the plastic pieces surrounding the car battery are intact. They help keep the battery cool. You can do it on your own with a simple battery tester, too. It’s better to replace the battery if it’s more than 3 years old.
In general, do not go on a road trip unless your vehicle is in tip-top shape. Pack a basic tool kit of tire irons, jacks, leather gloves, screwdrivers and wrenches to fix your car if, or rather when, it runs into trouble in the middle of a trip.