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The SEMA Show 2016 is an amazing car show. I along with other automotive Youtubers had to pleasure of making the drive from LA to the SEMA show, in an event we call “The Road TO SEMA 2016”. This SEMA road trip consisted of an automotive museum tour, a local car show, a fan get together, and fun times with great people. Shout Outs For The TripRoad To SEMA

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Happy Monday everyone. I am still in catchup mode from last week’s travels. The awesome part about a 5 hour drive is, it gave me plenty of time to shoot some videos for you guys. The funny part is, I forgot my notes. This is an on the fly, no notes, just me talking show.

Today we are talking about getting your car ready for a road trip. I will do my best to put together a list of things from the show. But like I said, this I forgot my notes. So, this is what I think I talked about in the video 🙂

Today on the Automotive Podcast:

  • Car Maintenance
  • What to do 2-3 weeks before your trip
  • What to do 1 week before your trip
  • What to do the night before your trip
  • Car safety checks
  • plan your route

A while back, I wrote a few posts about Prepping Your Car for a Road Trip.

As always, thanks for watching or listening. I had a great time shooting this video in the car. Remember that your comments are always welcome and appreciated. Did I miss anything in the show? What do you do to prep your car for a road trip?

Don’t forget, I am on all the cool social media deals

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Happy Monday everyone. I hope that you all had a great weekend. I am not really a fan of the weekend after Thanksgiving. Now that many stores open on Thursday, I guess I need to add Thanksgiving day to that list. I spent years working retail. This time of year was awful. Seeing people fighting over junk. Best wishes to all of you that work retail.

Moving on 😉 Today I want to give you all some advice to avoid some big time frustrations with your car. For me, the 3 days before Thanksgiving are insane. I made more hours Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, than I did 2 weeks ago. The dealer could have had 5 more techs and we still would have not been able to help everyone.

As someone that has been in the car business for a while, it is beyond me why so many people wait until the last minute to get their car serviced. I guess it is because the average driver considers their car an after thought. But waiting until the last minute for service can result in frustrations.

Here is how a conversation goes between a customer and a service advisor

Customer: (Calling on Monday before Thanksgiving) “Hi I need to get my car in for service”
Service writer: “Hi, we are taking appointments for Saturday, or for next week”Customer: ” But I need to get my car serviced tomorrow. We are going out of town”
Service writer: “I would love to help you, but lots of folks are traveling as well”
Customer: “Well I need to get my car serviced. Why don’t you have time to help me”
Service writer: “I would love to help you. I just can not bump other customers appointments”
Customer: “That’s BS. I can’t believe you wont help me.”
Service writer: “We can get you in Saturday”
Customer: “No, it needs to be before Thanksgiving”.

By now you get the point. As the conversation goes on, the customer and service writer both get tense. The customer is mad, the writer is mad, and the dealer doesn’t get the work. As a customer, there is little you can do to force a service dept. to get your car in for service. What can we do as customers? I am glad you asked.

DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!
Simple right? Call to make an appointment a week before the holiday, or your road trip. That way if your car has an issue, you have time to get it fixed. Last year my wife and I took a road trip to Illinois. It was a trip of about 2000 miles total. While I was getting ready for the trip, I wrote 3 posts about getting your car ready for road trips. We talk about starting to get the car ready 2-3 weeks before the road trip.

BE FLEXIBLE
You are trying to get your car serviced at one of the busiest times of the year. If you do wait, leave some extra time to get your car serviced. Please don’t leave a 20 minute window to get service. If your service department is booked at that time, you are stuck.

You might be thinking that service departments should be doing more to accommodate customers this time of year. I would 100% agree. Service departments should have all hands on deck so to say. But like I said, we can’t do anything to make them do that. So we have to take the initiative.

I hope you all really did have a great holiday weekend. For the first time in the 15 or so years I have known my wife, we both had the weekend off. That was pretty cool. I will have an update about the Cabby tomorrow, and hopefully have some Shop Shots for you on Wednesday. I didn’t realize how long it had been since the last round of Shop Shots.

Here are the 3 posts about prepping your car for a road trip:

I didn’t really want to leave you guys out another day. I don’t really share a lot of my non car related life. So today I want to just share a few pics from the trip we took.

We hit the road around 1:30am Thursday. Stopping only for fuel, coffee, and the inevitable bathroom break.. We rolled into Munster,IN about 2:30 central time. That is about 14 hours of travel time. We spent the night in IN, and enjoyed a few brews at 3Floyds brewing.

The next two days were jam packed with visiting as many friends and family as possible. We didn’t do everything that we wanted to. We didn’t get to see all the people that we wanted. Over all it was great to see the people we did. The far and away high point was seeing our cousin Mag. She has spend the better part of the last 2 years fighting the “C” word. She looked amazing! We chatted all through lunch about this and that. I even got to share some gardening tips with her. Just being around such an amazing person really does warm your heart. I am so proud to know her, and call her family. Congrats to you Mags, you are a hero!

Much like the trip out, we got rolling about 2:30am. The trip home is always worse than the trip out. I need to give a shout out to my wife. She pulled about 3 hours of driving time. That is huge for her.

The Passat did great. Not one hiccup or anything. Here is a run down of the stats

  • Overall MPG 26.9
  • Miles Driven 1893.3
  • Fuel fill ups 7
  • Average speed 69.1(that was on the return trip)

I like to think that all that prepping really helped! Here are some pictures of our trip. I almost forgot. We did get to see some of that meter shower. I couldn’t get any cool pictures, but it was really neat.

Today we are rounding home on this 3 part road trip prepping series. I know what you are thinking, “Charles, my car is ready to go. How much dang prepping can one car get?” Wells friends, you can not over prepare.

It is now a day or two before the big trip. You got your car serviced, and running great. All your gadgets are ready to go. You have the route planed, and your tunes all set. Before you pack up the car, we have a couple of things left to do.

Clean the car

If you are like me, you hate riding around in a dirty car. Just think of how annoying it will be riding around in a dirty car for hours on end. I would also wax the car. It will make cleaning all the bug guts a little easier. I will also be throwing some glass cleaner and a rag in the trunk. When we stop for gas I can get the windshield clean.

I will most likely be taking my Passat to work today and getting it cleaned up.

Snacks

A MUST when taking long trips. In Prepping Your Car Part 1, Gezika suggested bringing a cooler with some drinks on ice. I totally agree with her. Pick your favorite snacks and load them into the cooler. If you want to keep everything from getting soaked from the melting ice, try dry ice. It will keep everything nice and cold, and dry. (shocking something called dry ice would do that) 😛

Make sure you have some drinks for yourself as well. I keep a few bottles of water in my car all the time. Both for drinking and for topping off coolant if needed. Don’t forget the coffee! A lot of coffee.

The final check

The night before a road trip, I do one final check. I recheck

  • All the lights~I found 2 lights that were out.
  • All the fluids
  • tire pressures
  • wiper blades
  • tool kit
  • first aid kit
  • car registration and other car documents
  • Spare tire~When I checked mine last week, I found it was flat. Glad I checked 😉

With all that done, you should be as ready to go as you can. There are countless things that can happen on a road trip. You might not be able to prep for all of them, but the better you prepare your car, the easier dealing with a problem will be.

One more thing. Make sure you have your bags properly checked. I have went on road trips before and realized I messed that up.

Me and a buddy drove to the beach a few years back. I picked him up from the airport, and we headed out. The trip was about 3 hours. We rolled into the hotel about 11pm. I opened the trunk to find that I forgot my bag. I only had the clothes I was wearing. I had to swing by Walmart and get a few things. Luckily we were only there for 2 nights.

There was also the time when my wife and I drove to Richmond, VA for a concert. My lovely wife told me to leave my stuff out, and she would pack it for me. I set out my stuff for her. She met me at work and we rolled out. We got checked in to the hotel. I opened the bag to find none of my stuff. Somehow she forgot half of both of our things. HA (sorry honey but it was really funny)

Moral of the stories, make sure you pack all your stuff, AND put it in the car!

Well, that pretty much wraps up the Prepping for a road trip series. I hope you all enjoyed, and can use some of the tips to plan your own really great trip. If you have not “liked” the Facebook page, or don’t follow on twitter, now is the time. I will be posted from the road over the next few days!

Last week we talked about prepping your car before a big road trip. Now we are going to talk about the things that need to be done about a week before your trip.

So it’s one week before the trip. You have taken your car in or DIY’d all the maintenance. Your just ready to hit the road right? Well, not so fast, we still have some things to get dialed in.

Get your route in order

If the trip is one that you don’t make often, you will need to get the route down. I don’t mean you need to know it by heart, but an overview of the trip is important. Here are the things that I do when I plan out a driving route.

  • “Map Quest” the route. To be honest, I don’t even know if you can Map Quest anything. 🙂 I generally use Google maps. I will print out the 2 main routes for my trip. This way, you have a back up if your GPS fails.
  • Make sure the GPS is up to date.
  • If you have a smart phone, you can save the route to the phone. I am pretty sure that there are a lots of route guidance apps out there.

I know that might seem like overkill, but a few minutes of work can help if your GPS dies.

Share your plans

I remember being a kid and taking road trips to Missouri. My grandparents would always have the neighbors keep an eye on their house. They lived in a really cool court with great neighbors. It was strange that there was a really old, like early 1900s, cemetery right behind their house.

Today we still do the same with our neighbors. With all the cool technology, we can take it a few steps further. I will be emailing the route to the neighbors, and to my family. It’s just like sharing where you are going when you take a really long wilderness hike.

Now, don’t be foolish and advertise that you are not going to be home. THAT would be silly.

Get some entertainment

I generally do most of my road trips solo. I can be boring. I am kinda nerdy, so I survive the drive on podcasts! To me, podcasts and talk radio seem to make time fly. I also dig audio books. The first audio book I listen to was some strange “doomsday 2012” book. It talked about the Mayas coming from outer space and stealing your children, or whatever it was. HA, the book was awful.

This time, I get to road trip it with my wife. She is a podcast pro! We will be enjoying The Nerdest, Stop Podcasting Yourself, and Doug Loves Movies. I am sure if there was a Dr Who podcast, we would be listening to that too.

Loading up the Ipod with music, podcasts, and audio books will help avoid skimming radio stations trying to find something tolerable.

Make a backup plan

By the end of this post, you might just think I am crazy, OCD, or just plain nuts. The truth is, I try to make sure that I am prepped for things, especially when it comes to a road trip. Let’s face it, things can go wrong when you are on a 900 mile trip. So here are a few other things that I will be doing before a trip.

  • Print out a list of important phone numbers. Family, friends, anyone that you might need to contact in case of emergency.
  • Get a list of a few hotels along the way. If you get tired, you will have information on a place to stay. It beats the heck out of some sleazy roadside motel, or paying $300 for a night.
  • Make sure you have all your auto insurance information. If something bad happens you can’t just run home and get it.
  • Same goes for your bank account information and phone numbers.
  • CASH! Having some extra cash is always a great idea. On a road trip it is crucial. It be as simple as paying cash for the bag of Chex mix.
  • Make sure you have your car registration! Why would it not be in the car in the first place?

The cool thing about most of this stuff is, it’s one and done. Once you do it, you have the information. You can keep it in a safe place in the car.

Now that you have your car ready, and your mind ready, it’s just about time to hit the road. We will have one more set of checks before we leave. For that, you will have to wait until part 3! In part 3 we talk a couple of last minute car inspection, and my personal favorite, snacks and drinks.

I realized I forgot to tell you guys about the trip.(thanks Garrett) My wife and I will be traveling to Chicago for 4 days, 2 of which will be spent in the car. We will be visiting family and friends. We will also be visiting a few beer breweries. It will be nice to visit the city, see some friends and family, and enjoy some Chicago beer.

I also want to do something cool while we are on the road. I need some ideas. Post pictures to Facebook? Instagram, Twitter? How can we make this really fun? I did set up a ZELLO channel. It works like a walkie talkie for your smart phone. I will have it turned on the entire trip. Feel free to download it, and check out Humble Mechanic channel.

Hey everyone! Today I want to share some tips on preparing your car for a road trip. My wife and I are taking a road trip soon, so this is perfect timing.

What I really want to get into today is, things we should do about 2 weeks before a big road trip. What is a big road trip? Well for us it will be driving a little over 2000 miles in 4 days. That is a lot of time on the road, so I want to be sure that my car is

  • Up to date on all the maintenance
  • Functioning properly
  • Safe
  • Clean

Maintenance

This one is pretty easy. About 2 weeks before your trip, make sure your car is 100% up to date on all the maintenance. That might mean you are a little early for an oil change, but it is better than being 1000 miles past due.

This is a time where taking your car to the dealer is going to be the best choice. Dealer mechanics see all the common issues with your car. They know to look for leaks in certain spots. Spots that a Jiffy Change place might not. For those of you that “hate” taking your car to the dealer. I would really consider it before a long road trip.

Taking your car in a couple of weeks before your trip will give you time to make any repairs your car will need. It will allow plenty of time for your mechanic to order parts. It will also give you a day or so to really consider the repair. You can use the tips listed in “How to tell if a mechanic is ripping you off“. I would really recommend getting the following services done.

  • Oil and filter change
  • Tires rotated and balanced, this will also give a mechanic a chance to look for strange tire wear or nails, screw ect.
  • Not a MUST, but really consider a 4 wheel alignment. That slight pull is not a big deal around town, but imagine 12 hours dealing with it.
  • Cabin air filter, you will be in the car a long time. You don’t want to A/C to be smelly
  • Top off ALL fluids
  • Replace windshield wipers
  • Full inspection of car for leaks, and any other maintenance issues like brakes and belts.

Again, doing these things about 2 weeks before the trip will give you time. If you are a DIYer make sure you do a full inspection too.

Is Everything Working?

Now is the time to make sure everything works. Go ahead and push all the buttons. Make sure things like your windshield washer sprayers work. Do a walk around and inspect your lights. You don’t want to get pulled over in the middle of the night, in another state for having a light out do you?

This is also the time to break out the tool kit that came with the car. Make sure your jack works, and that you have all the items needed to change a tire. DON’T FORGET THE WHEEL LOCK!

If you are planning on using a GPS, a power inverter, a phone charger make sure they work. I would consider getting a backup phone charger in case one stops working. You will be relying on these during your trip make sure they work. Also check and make sure all your 12v outlets work. You can have 100 chargers, but with something to plug them into they are worthless.

Safety Check

This is something you do with out even knowing. This time I want to make sure you are knowingly checking. Look at all the things like your seat belts, air bags, brake system(again) light(again). For me, part of my drive will be through the mountains. I need to make sure my car is 100% safe.

Also when it comes to safety, make sure your first aid kit to good to go. I would take it out of the car, and inventory it. Be sure that nothing is expired, or ruined by heat/cold. Or that something didn’t spill inside the kit. If you don’t have a first aid kit, check out “Building a vehicle first aid kit“.

I would also take the tool kit you built out and make sure everything is cool! If you carry a “bug out bag” or a “get home bag” I would do the same with that bag.

Remember, this is just part 1 of the series on prepping your car for a road trip. We will get into more things you need to do to prep your car in part 2 and maybe part 3.

Is there any rituals you guys have for road trips? Other than hitting the road at 3am I don’t think I do. Well that an obsessing about the trip for weeks. But that is just me!

Don’t forget Shop Shots tomorrow. If you want your car featured in the Reads Rides section, email me a couple of pictures and some detail about your car. Send them to Charles(at)HumbleMechanic(dot)com Put something like READERS RIDES in the subject so It doesn’t get filtered into spam.

Podcast

Prepping Your Car For A Road Trip ~ Audio Podcast Episode 10

If you are getting ready to hit the road for a road trip, you have plenty of planning to do. But one area people often overlook is getting your car ready for that road trip. This is a vital step in prepping for a successful road trip. I have seen everything from people stopping in for a check engine light with the car loaded up for the beach, to breakdowns due to lack of maintenance 500 miles from home. Getting a car ready for a road trip should start long before you pack the car with gear.

Humble Mechanic automotive Podcast

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Many of you have asked about supporting the show. For that I thank you. For now, the best things you can do are SHARE THE SHOW, and shop with my links on Amazon. You will not spend any more money that you would normally. Here is the Amazon link ~ Humble Mechanic on Amazon or you can check out some recommended tools I have listed below.

Important links:

Join me today as we discuss

  • Car Maintenance
  • What to do 2-3 weeks before your trip
  • What to do 1 week before your trip
  • What to do the night before your trip
  • Car safety checks
  • plan your route
  • and more

Thanks for tuning in to the automotive podcast. I am really excited about the response. If you have an idea for a show, contact me via email, or use the contact me form!

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