How to Prep for HOT ROD Power Tour

How to Sur­vive and Thrive on the Long Haul

Hot Rod - - Contents - Ja­cob Davis Larry Chen

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!

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