Road Trip Tips
As the weather is clearing up and the winter months are ending, spring break will be here quicker than you can expect. For us in Washington, we are starting to get a taste of some dry pavement again! This has CorkSport itching to head out on a road trip to enjoy the spring weather, and for some of us, that Mazda that has spent most of the winter in a garage. I thought I’d share some tips to ensure that your first road trip this spring goes smoothly.
PIC: Alejandro Romero
Prepare (at least a little) before you go
Preparation will ensure that you don’t end up lost or stranded somewhere on the side of the road with no help in sight.
1. Check the obvious things.
- Tire Pressure
- Tire Tread,
- Oil Level
All basic checks that should be at the top of your list before heading out. This is especially true if your Mazdaspeed has been in a garage for the winter and this is your first long trip of the year.
2. Check the not-so-obvious things.
Road trips tend to highlight any little issues that may not show up in your day-to-day commute simply because you’re driving for a lot longer. This means ensuring your belts, coolant hoses, and battery are all in good condition. Double checking your coolant level will ensure your Mazdaspeed stays cool during long drives, especially if you’re pushing it in the twisties.
Lastly, for you automatic transmission folks, check your transmission fluid level and ensure it has been changed according to manufacturer specifications. Long mountain passes can be killer on AT cars, especially if they are low on fluid or desperately need fresh ATF.
3. Where ?!
Research where you are going before you go. A quick google search will ensure you won’t miss anything interesting on your way or at your destination. Google maps is your friend, especially for scouting out potential good driving roads. At CorkSport, we have even found good locations to film cars and test parts using google maps alone. Researching your route will also let you know if there are any road closures or construction that can spoil your drive.
Be ready for the inevitable
While preparation is nice, having a backup plan for if things do go south is best.
How’s your spare tire doing?
When’s the last time you checked if your spare tire was even inflated? Flat tires are unfortunately common on road trips, and having a spare in good condition is a lot cheaper than having to call a tow truck. While on the subject, ensure you have all the tools needed to change a tire in your car. From my own experience, the OEM scissor jacks may not fit if your car is lowered and you have a flat. Additionally, it’s really difficult to change a tire when the OEM lug wrench is a different size than your wheel locks. I was lucky enough to have a friend close by to help me out, but on a road trip, you likely won’t be so lucky.
If you’ve got the space, pack extra tools. If you do break down, having a decent assortment of tools to help you fix what is wrong can help you get back on the road faster. Even though parts stores have tools for sale, they are always way more expensive than they should be, plus, who’s to say you were lucky enough to break down near a parts store anyways?
Keep a basic emergency kit in your Mazda. Jumper cables, a small first aid kit, flashlight, even some extra oil will keep you moving toward your destination. There are quite a few inexpensive emergency kits out there that can really save your bacon in a pinch. Who knows, you may be able to help out someone else stuck on the side of the road.
Come up with a plan for a lockout. Having a spare key is invaluable, especially while far away from home. Whether it’s a hide-a-key somewhere under the Mazda, or just a spare key that is given to someone you’re traveling with, having a way to get back in your car after losing your key will keep you moving.
Last and most important, stay safe. Don’t go all out on the street, especially on unfamiliar roads, and be patient with other drivers, more so during busy travel days. After all, what good is a road trip, if you or your car don’t come back in one piece?
Hopefully, a few of these tips will help some of you have a great road trip, and be sure to tell us about it! We love finding new driving roads and scenic locations. If you share your spots, who knows you may just see some CorkSport Mazdas around once in a while!