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Preparing your vehicle for a road trip

Plan ahead

When you’re planning your trip, check government websites to find out if any areas or roads on your route are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also make sure you’re complying with any government restrictions.

To get your car ready, use our road trip checklist and car maintenance tips.

Get a tune-up

One of the most important car maintenance tasks for a road trip across the country is to get a tune-up for your car. Speak to your mechanic so they can check:

  • The fluid levels (oil, transmission, power steering, brake and windshield wiper) and pay special attention to the coolant
  • Brake pads
  • Hoses and belts
  • Spark plugs
  • Car battery

These are crucial functions of a working vehicle and it’s important to know if any of these parts need to be replaced or repaired before your long drive.

Do some vehicle checks yourself

Before you leave, be sure to check:

1. The tire pressure

Tires with low pressure have a higher chance of blowing out. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure to make sure it matches the guidelines of your owner’s manual. Look at the tire tread depth to prevent sliding and skidding. Also, check the condition of your spare tire as you may need it during your trip.

2. The air conditioning

When scorching summer temperatures are in full swing, you’ll be thankful for your vehicle’s A/C when you’re cruising along. It can make your ride much more comfortable when the sun and heat are in full effect. Before your road trip, test the A/C to see if cold air is being circulated.

3. The car’s air filter

Driving with an unclean air filter can affect your vehicle’s fuel economy. It can also limit airflow circulation in your vehicle. Replace it before your road trip.

4. The lights

Check to see if the lights on your vehicle are cracked or burnt out. Ask a family member or friend to stand outside while you turn the lights on and off to see if there are any issues with your headlights, blinkers and taillights.

Take COVID-19 supplies

To help enjoy a safe road trip during these uncertain times, it’s important to bring the essentials such as:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face masks
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Thermometer

Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and warm water whenever you can.

Bring a map or GPS

Avoid getting lost by having maps or correct directions put into an up-to-date GPS. Enter your directions into the GPS before you drive to limit driving distractions. Most GPS systems recognize major Canadian landmarks such as Banff National Park and the Bay of Fundy. If you have a passenger in the front seat, ask for their help with navigation.

Even if you do have a GPS, it’s a good idea to take a map along as a backup in case you pass through an area without reception.

If you’ve taken the trip before, just be sure to check whether any areas or roads on your route are closed due to the pandemic.

Renew important documents

Are you covered on the road? Review your auto insurance policy to make sure it’s up to date and check the expiration date on your driver’s licence. Consider purchasing travel insurance to provide additional peace of mind on your trip.

Pack an emergency kit

Be prepared for the unexpected. Pack a vehicle emergency kit with these items included in it:

  • First-aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Road flares
  • A whistle
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Spare charger
  • Spare batteries
  • Bottled water
  • Tire compressor and sealant
  • Tire jack
  • Spare tire
  • A blanket
  • Jumper cables
  • Duct tape
  • Toilet paper
  • Non-perishable food items

Continue to follow physical distancing and hand washing protocols, so you can explore the Great White North safely!

For more on this topic:

Road trip with the kids: 9 fun car games to play

Are you covered for your next trip?

7 things to know about COVID-19 and your car

Preparing your vehicle for a road trip

Summer is usually a great time for a road trip. But if the COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt on your plans because of travel restrictions, you may still be able to explore your own province!

The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. The Personal recommends using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive and tailored advice.

Auto Insurance is not available in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia due to government-run plans.