How to Prep for HOT ROD Power Tour
How to Survive and Thrive on the Long Haul
The HOT ROD Power Tour® presented by Chevrolet Performance is the world’s largest traveling car show, where more than 5,000 cars show up to drive almost 1,500 miles on the backroads of America to seven different cities over the course of a week. Power Tour® definitely takes its toll on hot rods, and for many people, the trip there is just as long—if not longer—than the event itself. Preparation is key when planning to take on the challenge, so we’ve put together a quick overview of what steps to take to get yourself and your car ready for the long haul. If you take the time to prepare, it will keep you on the road enjoying the trip and result in less time wrenching or seeking help from Chevrolet Performance’s Motor Medics.
First, make the decision to take on the marathon that is Power Tour®, and this is something that takes commitment because many participants have to ask off work pretty far in advance. Another bonus of deciding that you’re really going is that it can serve as motivation to get your project finished rather than letting it sit idle for another year. Once the dates are released, we recommend booking your hotel rooms as soon as possible. With how massive this event has become, rooms in the host cities fill up very quickly. If you’re on a budget, you can camp or sleep in the car, but we will say there’s nothing like getting to that nice, air-conditioned room at the end of a long day and taking a shower.
After you’ve decided that you’re going and have booked your rooms, it’s time to plan the logistics. Lucky for you, the HOT ROD events team handles the driving route day to day while the event is officially underway, but that still leaves the drive to the starting point and back home from the final stop. The majority of the participants opt to drive their cars to and from the event, but some ship their cars using transport companies, choosing to board a plane to the first city. This is ultimately up to your budget.
Once your route is planned, it’s time to prep your car. If you drive an old vehicle like most of the people on tour and it’s been sitting for a bit, we recommend driving it for a week or so to figure out the bugs. Definitely make sure the cooling system is working perfectly, because Power Tour® may very well be the best test of your car’s cooling abilities.
Then it’s time for one of the most crucial steps: packing. Some cars that show up have very little room for spare parts in addition to the owner’s luggage, but if you drive a land yacht or a station wagon, you can pretty much bring everything—including the kitchen sink! A basic list will obviously include your clothes, a cooler stocked with cold drinks, a toolbox with a basic set of tools to help in the event of a breakdown, some folding chairs, a canopy for shade (or at least sunscreen), and whatever spare parts you deem necessary to give you peace of mind.
Some of the most common spares include belts, hoses, spark plugs, ignition-system parts, a spare tire, and some extra oil and coolant. We’ve also seen people bring spare distributors, alternators, and starters when driving a less-than-common vehicle. (It can be hard to scrounge up parts for oddball makes.) It’s normally best to bring as much as you can fit into the trunk; it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. One of the best things is that if you do break down, your fellow tour participants will stop to see if they can help.
Lastly, make sure you have a buddy to ride shotgun on the trip because it makes it that much better. Many families come on Power Tour® together, but if this trip isn’t what the rest of them had in mind for vacation, bring a friend. Having someone to talk to on the road will keep you sane. Having an extra set of hands around can prove invaluable should something go wrong, but we will warn you that if you don’t have the luxury of air conditioning, they may be harder to convince.
You can, of course, just jump in the car last minute and face the problems head-on as they come, while others may want to check every bolt and test every component before they hit the road. The important part is that you come out with your car and enjoy this event. Cruising the backroads of America with fellow hot rodders is one of the most fun things you can do!