Summer is upon us and road trip season is happening! BC Parks recently re-opened provincial campgrounds and parks to BC residents as a part of phase 2 of the province’s COVID-19 response. Before you head out on your next trip, follow this checklist to help you travel safely and avoid any issues.
Be sure to also take a look at our resource guide to help you plan an epic road trip.
Online Guide to Plan Your Next Trip
Map out your route & add your bucket list destinations. Download the Roadtrippers app to take with you on the road.
Download the offline maps from Google Maps onto your phone ahead of time, so you know where you’re going even if you lose cell phone reception.
Find free campsites or backcountry spots with the help of iOverlander. Be sure to download their mobile app.
Haven’t decided where you want to go yet? Social media sites are a great way to discover destinations through fellow travelers.
6 Top Planning Tips
1. Pack Smart
Check your vehicle’s load capacity to make sure you aren’t putting too much weight in the car. On most new cars, the total weight you can carry is printed on the door placard inside the driver’s door jam. This load rating includes all the passengers and cargo. With extra weight comes extra fuel consumption, so try to carry only what you need along with some emergency supplies. If you’re not using the roof rack, remove it if possible, as it can significantly worsen your fuel economy.
2. Bring Windshield Sunshade
You may be surprised to find out how high temperatures can soar within the interior of a car during a hot, sunny day. A sunshade (aka UV Heat Shield) helps to reduce interior temperature and protect the interior from damaging UV rays that penetrate the front windshield. Many manufacturers offer custom-patterned windshield shades that fit the outline of their vehicles’ windshields. Check with your dealership’s Parts Department to see if one is available for your vehicle.
3. Get a Dash Camera
Have a dashcam installed in your vehicle for your next road trip, and even for everyday driving. Dashcam footage can protect you legally and from an insurance coverage perspective if you ever get into an accident caused by someone else. Many vehicle manufacturers offer Genuine Dash Cameras. Check with your dealership’s Parts Department for recommendations. One added benefit of a dashcam is that many models will allow you to record your entire drive, which can be great for capturing those special moments on your trip.
4. Clean & Protect the Car
Bug guts and dirt is an unavoidable part of road trips. Be sure to clean your car before heading out, as a clean car can make dirt removal a lot easier.
The sun's powerful UV rays during the summer can also cause your vehicle's paint to fade and the clear-coat finish on your vehicle painted surface to become uneven, allowing dirt, pollutants, and moisture to get trapped. This can dull your vehicle’s finish, ruin its look, and affect its resale value. Consider applying paint protection to your vehicle as an additional way to protect your vehicle. Talk to your OpenRoad dealership to find out the types of paint protection available and which is the best option for your vehicle.
5. Check Tire Pressure
Remember, the contact patch of most tires is only about the size of your hand, and it has to handle a lot more weight and force than the shoe that is on your foot. Long road trips with huge loads and high temperatures can stress your tires to the max. You can read our Essential Tire Safety Tips.
Make sure that you have the correct tire pressure in all five tires. Why five? Because most cars have a spare tire and even the space-saver spare tire needs to have its pressure checked. Inflate your tire to the level recommended by your vehicle manufacturer, which should be listed on the side of the driver's door, on the fuel filler cap door, or in the owner’s manual. If you're carrying an extra heavy load, follow the recommendation for “heavy loads,” which is usually listed in the manual. If you are still driving on winter tires, be sure to swap them out for all-seasons or summer tires before you head out. If you are in need of new tires, many reputable tire brands are currently offering rebates of up to $100.
6. Schedule a Check-Up
Schedule a check-up before you head out on the road. Performing basic maintenance on your vehicle before you head out – such as checking wipers, lights, and fluid levels — can help you to avoid issues while away from home. If it is almost time to get the oil changed, do it before you leave. A long trip can put additional stress on your motor. Also, don’t think that adding extra oil by yourself will work like an oil change, because that does not get rid of the sludge from old used oil.
Now that you’ve followed all these steps, just roll down the windows, and enjoy the open road!