So, you’re going on a road trip, and you’re excited. Maybe it is even a long one. But, if you have already gone through your checklist of things you need for your trip, you are almost ready. So, let’s talk about how often you need to take breaks on that trip.
Besides knowing when to stop and rest, you also need to know the most common car problems people experience on road trips to ensure your planning is complete. Let’s dive in.
As long as everything is working fine mechanically, your car does not necessarily need to rest on a road trip. However, you do. We recommend that you stop for 15 minutes every 2-3 hours driving. This is because driving for extended periods without rest can be pretty risky. Also, you are advised not to go for more than 7-8 hours each day.
You could run out of fuel, fall asleep on the wheel, or even have delayed reaction times. To avoid this, take short breaks periodically. It might look like a waste of time, but it would only add an hour at most to your trip each day, and it makes all the difference. Plus, if you plan for stops ahead of your journey, they will fit perfectly in your plans without causing any problems.
Under normal circumstances, cars do not need to rest during long road trips. But as stated earlier in the article, humans do. So, if your vehicle has not run out of fuel and is not overheating, you can continue driving. But be sure to check your dashboard regularly to monitor the temperature.
As stated in the previous section, you are advised to stick to 7-8 hours daily driving. This means that you should cover around 500 miles in a day, depending on traffic conditions and your speed limit. If you must go over 8 hours in a day, it should not be more than 10 hours. If your trip takes longer than that, you need to stop and rest.
Let’s look at some of the most common car problems you can encounter on road trips and how to prevent them.
The most common problem people are likely to experience is engine overheating. To ensure this doesn’t happen on your trip, make sure your radiator is filled adequately and that it keeps your engine at the right temperature.
Getting a flat tire
It is also super common to get a flat tire on a trip and in very inconvenient places too! To plan against this, keep a spare tire handy. Also, you need to have the tools and the expertise required to change your tire if you get a flat.
You run out of gas
Don’t forget to fill your tank up and keep extra bottles of fuel in the trunk if you run out and there is no gas station nearby. Then, when your low fuel indicator light comes on, find a nearby station. And if you can’t find one, you could use the fuel you stocked up on.
Car batteries are often neglected before road trips, which makes them one of the most common parts of your car to give you problems on a road trip. Your car battery could quit unexpectedly on the trip, and it might be super tricky to get it back on afterward. So have your battery checked before your journey to ensure it is adequately charged and working well.
This is quite inconvenient even when trying to get to the grocery store or run an errand. So imagine how much more stressful it would be when you’re miles away with no help close by. To avoid getting stranded with a transmission problem, check your dashboard, listen for noises, and check for leaks. You can also drive down to your local mechanic and do a transmission check. If any problems come up, don’t ignore them.
This problem is quite common on road trips and can also be fatal. Brake failure has resulted in many devastating accidents. However, a quick check can prevent this. As part of your preparations for the road trip, have a mechanic examine your brake pads, fluid, rotors, and drums. If you find something wrong, make sure to get it fixed before your trip, as it could be quite fatal if you run into brake trouble on the way.
You can drive most cars for about 7-8 hours at a stretch before you need to refuel them. However, suppose your vehicle is not low on fuel and does not have any other underlying mechanical faults. In that case, you’re free to keep driving. Most times, people take breaks while driving because they need to rest. Not because of their cars.
We don’t know the time limit as to when a car will stop after you drive it for that long. There is no evidence even to support that such a limit exists. Cars are designed to last for continuous driving, so you can probably keep driving them as long as they are fueled and fixed.
Suppose your car is in good condition and doesn’t have any mechanical problems. In that case, its mileage will not affect its ability to take you on a road trip. It all depends on how well you have been taking care of your car. Suppose you have kept up with properly maintaining your vehicle. In that case, all you need to do before your trip is to check the oil levels, coolant, and transmission and have a spare tire in case of an emergency, and you’re good to go!
Thanks to Tom Cooper from Holiday Parrots for improvements to this post.