Planning a Road Trip? Make Sure Your Car’s in Good Shape
Getting a thorough check-up of car done ahead of a long journey is a must, says Prashant Mahesh
Many families are planning road trips during summer vacations. According to tour operators, families in Delhi are driving down to Jammu, Udaipur, and Leh, while Mumbai-based ones are driving to Goa, Bangalore and Coorg, among others. Some of them may be guilty of last minute planning, but several of them are forced to opt for cars due to the perennial waitlisted tickets for train travel and expensive flight tickets.
For example, a family of four in Mumbai will have to shell out .` 36,000 for a return ticket to Goa for the next week. Similarly, a four-member family in Delhi will have to pay .` 40,000 for a return ticket to Udaipur. In comparison, these families just have to spend around .` 5,000-8,000 for their road trip, including the toll charges. A road trip can be a great fun if you enjoy driving, but experts want you to ensure the fitness of your car to make it a memorable trip.
Run Through a Basic Check
“Take your car to a service station for a basic check-up. The service station will run a basic check on tyres, lights, look for hose cracks or broken belts and top up all the oils such as engine oil, brake cool and coolant, ” says Kunal Khattar, vicepresident, Carnation Auto.
Take your car to the service station at least three days before the trip as it will give the centre enough time to fix the problems detected while ex- amining the car. You should request for a general check, which could look at things like lights, brakes, accelerator, topping up engine oil, or coolant to the optimal levels. The centre will check for any leakages and damages to be repaired. All lights and bulbs must be examined and checked to ensure they are working fine.
This is important as long trips may entail driving in the night and on highways. “Improper lights
Experts also advise that vacationers must carry all documents and use smartphones for a better trip
may impact the visibility of the driver,” says Rajesh Sood, MD and CEO, ecardlr.com.
Check Your Tyres
“Tyre tread and its depth should be inspected properly especially if you are going to drive in a hilly terrain,” says Khattar. Driving with a low tread depth increases the potential for tyre failure. “Ensure that all your tyres, including the spare one, is inflated as per the recommended pressure, mentioned in the manufacturers manual,” says Banwari Lal Sharma, VP (marketing), carwale.com. When the vehicle is speeding on long distances, high speed could result in heating and automatic in- flation of tyres, which could lead to tyre burst at times. So, experts recommend reduced tyre pressure by two PSI on high-speed roads such as the Mumbai-Pune expressway. You should also ensure that the vehicle body jack is available and is in a usable condition. The wheel spanner should be in its place and secured like the jack and handle.
A Smartphone is Handy
Experts ask vacationers to carry their documents and smartphones for a smooth trip. “Have 3G activated in your mobile phone. You could use various apps to find the best possible route, to search for restaurants, petrol pumps on the way to fuel up while travelling,” says Sharma. Experts recommend using smartphones with 3G data plans and roaming activated for longer journeys. “Google apps give you information on the shortest route, the kind of traffic you may face and will alert you of any accident that would have occurred enroute,” says Khattar. Moreover, you could use various mobile apps which help you with the best hotels, or places to go around in your destination. For example, the Zomato app will help you discover the best restaurants to eat in the area you are driving around. Lastly, all drivers must to carry the original licence. Also, do not forget to carry photocopies of the RC book, PUC and the car insurance.