Road tripping for the summer? Road trips can be a fun and cost-effective way to spend time with family and friends while traveling to your summer vacation destination. But, if you don’t know what car maintenance you should complete before you leave or the best ways to save money while on the road, the adventure could end up costing you more than an airplane ticket.
Lisa Copeland, founder of Buying Cars Her Way and a leader in the automotive industry for more than 25 years, offers 8 tips on road tripping:
1. Fill up all fluids – not just gas. A variety of fluids are your car’s lifeblood—each one keeps your car running smoothly throughout the years. Before you leave for your road trip, make sure you check your oil, coolant, automatic transmission fluid and brake fluid. This can all be checked during a regular maintenance checkup, so you don’t have to do it by yourself.
2. Check your wiper blades. No one likes getting stuck in a rainstorm with old wiper blades. Check to see how old your blades are and replace them if needed. A great rule of thumb is to make sure there are no streaks, screeches or bumps when your windshield wipers turn on. If there are, it’s time to change the blades out.
3. Make sure your tire pressure is perfect. Tire pressure can affect your car’s performance significantly, so make sure each one of your tires is filled to the proper pressure. Also, make sure your tires have enough tread depth. If your tires are lacking tread it could bring significant control issues as your vehicle won’t hold the road properly and is especially dangerous in rain.
4. Stock up on snacks before you go. It’s easy to pop into a gas station and purchase a few tiny bags of 99-cent chips while you’re on the road -- but those 99 cents can build up quickly. Instead of buying your snacks as you drive, purchase the economy-sized bags at the grocery store before you leave. You’ll get about twice as much for your money.
5. Skip the drive-thrus and hit local hot spots. Fast food is an easy way to get a big cheap meal, but those burgers can build up fast. Instead of stopping at a fast food joint every time your tummy grumbles, stop at the Mom-and-Pop diners and cafes that you spot on your route. Not only is this food likely to be cheaper, but also it will give you a taste of local cuisine.
6. Consider camping. Camping is a free way to spend the night, cutting down on hotel and motel costs. Just be sure to bring a tent and sleeping bag for comfort.
7. Use technology to find the cheapest gas. There’s an app for everything these days, including finding the cheapest gas in your area. These apps can help you choose your gas stops more wisely, saving you a few extra pennies along the trip than can add up.
8. Be prepared just in case - pack an emergency kit. Fill up a kit with a variety of tools and items you might need just in case you find yourself stranded on the side of the road – such as a flashlight, tire gauge, jumper cables, batteries and water.