Taking Care of Your MN Vehicle: Things to Consider Before You Head Out on Your Next Road Trip

As summer’s winding down, many of you Twin Cities motorists may be planning one last long drive.  Before you decide to go on that long,-awaited road trip, think about some of the specifics that might make a difference if something was to go wrong.  At SkipChips we’re dedicated to helping Minneapolis/St. Paul area drivers preserve the appearance of their vehicles, but we’re also interested in passing on helpful driving tips such as these.

Pre-Trip Vehicle Preparation

1. Review the route you’re going to be taking and find out if there are other ways to get around in case you run into an unexpected traffic jam or detour.  Bring a GPS if possible.

2. Bring your cell phone with you (as well as the charger); it could come in handy in case of emergencies.

3. Check if you have roadside assistance through your insurance or a way that you can make sure to get it if it is needed – you do not want to be stranded somewhere and not know what to do.

4. Before each trip, always check to ensure that your windshield wipers are working correctly.

5. The heater in your vehicle should work correctly, too. This is something to check even in the summer – at this time of the year the Minnesota weather is unpredictable, and it could unexpectedly turn cold.

6. Get plenty of sleep before you depart, since you do not want to be tired or drowsy – this can cause an accident.

7. All of the fluids should be checked thoroughly (wiper fluid, transmission, oil, and water).  Ensure they are where they need to be. Always fill up the gas tank, and try to carry a small can of gas with you as well, just in case.

8. Check the safety seats for children before heading out if you’re bringing younger passengers with you. They should be safely strapped in according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

9. Provide ways to entertain the kids somehow to minimize distractions that you might have.

10. Always put emergency provisions in the trunk such as snacks, water, extra clothing, blankets, flashlights, and batteries to ensure that you’re covered if something happens and you’re waiting for help.

11. Check the tires before you go. They should be installed correctly with the right pressure and no leaks or worn down areas. Do not forget to check the spare as well.

Tips for Safe Vacation Driving

  • Make sure to abide by the rules of road, which means no speeding, and go at a steady, comfortable pace. Avoid sudden stops; you’ll be able to navigate with ease this way.
  • Always leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you to decrease the chance of accidents.
  • If the weather conditions are bad or might be bad, give yourself extra time to get there without having to rush.
  • Always be alert of the conditions around and the traffic, and anything else that might come your way.
  • Know your vehicle, since you will know if something is wrong once you feel or hear it. If you’re used to driving, then this can be something that sets off a red flag. If it happens, safely pull to the side of the road and troubleshoot what the problem is.
  • If something happens and you get stuck, do not panic.  As much as possible, stay with your vehicle. Try to conserve your fuel and keep warm during cold weather conditions. Call for help and patiently wait.

Keep in mind that long road trips can be hard on your car’s exterior as well as its engine.  Before heading out, consider having Diamon-Fusion windshield treatment applied to make your windshield easier to maintain as well as to improve your vision through it.  3M premium paint protection film can guard your front end from those inevitable bugs and road debris that could damage your paint.  And Scotchgard upholstery and carpet protectants can prevent stains from beverage spills and snacks.  You’ll enjoy your trip more if you know you’ve done all that you can to protect your car before you leave the driveway.