Is My Car Too Old for A Road Trip? A Checklist

Is My Car Too Old for A Road Trip? A Checklist

old car for a road trip

You might be planning to go on a road trip soon, and that’s super fun. But if your car has been around for a while, it could raise concerns. You might wonder whether the vehicle is too old to make it on the trip. You wouldn’t want to start out and then get stranded somewhere on the way.

If this has been bothering you, you’re in luck. We have created a checklist of things to help you know if your car is too old for a road trip. So, stick around to find out!

Is my car too old for a road trip? – A checklist

Is your car too old for a road trip? We don’t believe any car is too old for a road trip. But, if your car is old, there are a couple of things you should look out for before your road trip.

Check all your tires and ensure you have a spare

For your road trip, you want to ensure that none of your tires are torn, punctured, or deflated. You also want to ensure you have a spare in your trunk to prepare for an emergency. Also, make sure you know how to change a tire, and you also have all the tools you would need to change it.

Run a battery check

Have your battery checked for faults or weaknesses, or get a new one. Especially if the road trip would be a very long one.

Carry a spare headlight bulb with you

You want to have a spare headlight bulb handy if your car’s headlight bulb dies at night. This is surprisingly common with some old cars, so prepare against it. If your headlight bulb dies out, it can be hazardous for you and other drivers when driving at night. You could also get pulled over and fined for it, leading to an even costlier expense.

Get a manual for your car if you don’t already have one

You should have a manual handy when going on a road trip. This makes it easy for you to find and fix minor problems that could come up during your trip. A Haynes or Chilton manual works just fine.

Make sure to pack lightly.

You want the load on your car to be as little as possible, so rid yourself of any unnecessary baggage and pack as lightly as possible.

Keep cash on hand in case of an emergency.

Even if you are super careful, it is still possible for old cars to act up when driving really long distances. So, you want to be sure you can handle such emergencies whenever they come. An excellent place to start would be to have some cash readily available when you need it.

Set some water aside for your car

In many old cars, you might not be able to tell when your engine is about to overheat. The best option would be to stop occasionally to check, but sometimes you forget. That’s okay, but make sure to have water on hand to fix that problem if it comes up.

Carry some spark plugs with you

You never can tell when these will come in handy with an old car, so be prepared.

Will my car make it on a road trip? – Things to check

So now you have an idea of what to do to prepare for your road trip. Here’s a list of things you should check before you venture on that trip.

  1. Check that your tires are all in proper condition and have a spare. Check the air in your tires and the tire pressure. Make sure everything is working as it should. Check the wheels and lug nut torque on all four corners. Check the tire tread to see how much you have left.
  2. Check all fluid levels in your car, and replace filters too. Fuel, water, engine oil, washer fluid. Top up wherever you need to. If you need to change any fluids, ensure that you do so before your trip. Ensure you keep extra bottles of those fluids in your trunk in case you run out and need to refill before you find a gas station.
  3. Check your brakes, and make sure they feel familiar to you. Take the car out for a test drive if possible, and ensure your brakes work as they should.
  4. Check your wipers; make sure they work fine. Windshield wipers sometimes malfunction or crack out of dryness or lack of use. Make sure that’s not the case before you go on your trip. Also, check that your seatbelt is not faulty; check the accessory belt, coolant, turn signals, license plate, etc.

Read also: Best Cheap Summer Road Trips for College Students

When is a car too old to drive on a road trip?

Your car would only be too old to drive if the parts you need to fix faults in the vehicle are no longer available. As long as it is fixable, you can go on a road trip with it. Cars become unsafe when there are too many problems and not enough fixes. And most times, this does not happen because of how old they are. What really matters is the climate, maintenance practices, and how much the owner can spend on repairs.

Where to get my car checked before a road trip

Before you go on your trip, visit your local mechanic to inspect your car and recommend fixes if there is a need. This ensures that your vehicle is in the best possible condition for a road trip.

Do road trips damage cars?

Road trips do not permanently damage cars, but they can. A very long road trip can cause some expensive damage to your vehicle. But, again, this is not always the case. With each mile your car runs, there is wear and tear. With road trips, you will have to drive several miles sometimes. If you encounter bumpy roads or potholes, it could also exacerbate existing problems and cause noticeable damage.

Planning a Road Trip?
Read our Guides

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