Anyone who is preparing for a road trip will naturally be considering a few basic elements of vehicle preparation, and this is especially true if you're taking your classic car on a road trip. No one wants to worry about the quality of their vehicle while on a long drive in remote locations, and some simple prep will help you make your trip in style without any problems.
At Andersen Restoration Parts, we're happy to offer a huge range of classic car restoration products and services, including everything from suspension kits to ball joint sets, idler arms and numerous others. We have everything you need to prepare your car for any upcoming trip -- including expertise. Here are a few simple tips.
Handle Major Repairs First
If you know your classic car is in need of a significant repair, such as suspension work, an engine tune-up or a new paint job, it's best to take care of that before you dig into other preparation areas. Issues that will stop the vehicle from running altogether should, of course, be your top priority.
For example, it doesn't really matter how many other preparations you make -- if your car's suspension isn't in good working order, you're not going anywhere. The same goes for engine trouble; if your car won't start, you're stuck at home. So, be sure to take care of any major repairs before moving on to the next steps.
Once any major repair needs have been covered, you can move to more general vehicle maintenance and tune-ups. This can include anything from checking your oil level and tire pressure to making sure all of your fluids are topped off.
It's also a good idea to check your brakes and make sure they're in good working order. After all, you'll want to be able to stop when you need to, especially if you're driving in unfamiliar territory.
If you're not comfortable performing these maintenance tasks yourself, you can always take your car to a trusted mechanic to have them done for you.
One particular component that tends to wear out faster in classic cars than in newer vehicles is the air filter. A clogged or dirty air filter can reduce your car's gas mileage and cause engine damage, so it's important to replace it if necessary.
You can usually tell if your air filter needs to be replaced if it looks dirty or clogged. If you're not sure, you can always consult your car's owner's manual or ask a mechanic.
Check Your Rubber
There are several important rubber components in any classic vehicle, including seals, belts, gaskets and hoses. These components can degrade over time, so it's important to inspect them regularly and replace them if necessary.
If you're not sure how to check your rubber components, you can always ask a mechanic to take a look for you.
Another vital element of prepping your car for a road trip is making sure your tires are in good condition. This includes checking the tread depth, air pressure and overall condition of the tires.
If you're not comfortable inspecting your tires yourself, you can always take them to a tire shop to have them checked.
It's also a good idea to keep a spare tire in your car, just in case you have a flat while on the road. This is especially important with older vehicles, as you may not be able to find a replacement tire that's the same size and style as your current tires.
Pack an Emergency Kit
No matter how well you prepare, there's always a chance something could go wrong on your road trip. That's why it's important to pack an emergency kit, just in case.
Engine Cooling System
If your trip is during the current hot summer, or even if you're planning ahead for a summer road trip, you'll want to take extra care of your car's engine cooling system. This includes making sure the coolant level is topped off and the radiator hoses are in good condition.
You can check the coolant level yourself by looking at the overflow tank under the hood of your car. The radiator hoses can usually be checked by feel; if they're soft or brittle, they need to be replaced.
If you're not comfortable checking the cooling system yourself, you can always take your car to a mechanic to have it done.
Take a Road Test
If you haven't driven your classic car in a while, it's a good idea to take it for a spin around the block before hitting the open road. This will help you get reacquainted with your car and make sure everything is working properly.
If you're not comfortable driving your car yourself, you can always have someone else do it for you. Just be sure they're familiar with your car's controls and features.
Plan Your Route
Before setting out on your road trip, it's important to plan your route. This includes mapping out the cities and towns you'll be staying in, as well as any scenic routes or attractions you want to see along the way.
Clean It Up
After you've taken care of all the necessary repairs and maintenance, it's time to give your car a good cleaning. This includes both the exterior and interior of the vehicle.
Start by giving your car a good wash and wax. This will help protect the paint and make it easier to clean the car when you get home. If you're planning on spending a lot of time in your car, you may also want to vacuum and shampoo the interior to make it more comfortable.
For more on how to prep your classic car for a road trip of any kind, or to learn about our classic car restoration parts and services, speak to the team at Andersen Restoration Parts today.