Summer roadtrip: Don't forget to do these 8 things before hitting the open road

·7 min read

Camping and roadtrips are a Canadian rite of passage — and being prepared will help make it the most enjoyable experience possible. When it comes to tackling your summer plans with confidence, Everything Awaits you at Canadian Tire. From roadtrip checklists to out-of-the-box camping meal ideas, we’ve got you covered as you count down to the weekends.

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

Summer holidays are the perfect opportunity to reconnect with family and set out on an unforgettable adventure as a family.

This summer, many families are opting to pack up the car for a good old fashioned road trip. Aside from being affordable, road trips offer the chance to make the most of warm weather and summer activity time with your family. As long as provincial travel regulations allow it (make sure to double check!), there's so many beautiful places to enjoy right here in Canada.

It’s like they say: Getting there is half the fun. That is, unless something goes wrong. Whether you’re heading to the cottage, heading out of town for a day trip or heading across the country, there are a few things you can do to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape before you hit the road. 

1. Take care of your tires

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

One of the most important things to do before you head out for a road trip is to ensure your tires are in good condition.

An easy thing you can do on your own is to perform a visual inspection of your tires for any signs of damage (punctures, bulges etc.) that can compromise the safety of your vehicle. A quality pair of all-season tires, like the Continental TrueContact Tour Tire, have visual indicators that can alert you to performance issues and provide enhanced traction when driving during summer storms.

Tires should be rotated every 8,000-10,000 kilometres to prevent uneven wear. If you haven’t rotated your tires in a while, be sure to do so before your journey. Aside from keeping you safe, tire quality also impacts the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, which can have a big impact on your vacation budget and the number of stops you make. Be sure to check the air pressure of your tires before your journey (and before you return home) to ensure your tires are at the optimal pressure for your vehicle and maintain your car’s fuel economy.

2. Top up on fluids

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Whether you visit your local Canadian Tire or perform routine maintenance at home, it’s extremely important to ensure your vehicle’s fluids are topped up before setting off on a long road trip.

Depending on how many kilometres are on your vehicle, it may be time to do more than just an oil change and top-up on windshield washer fluid. Brake, radiator, power steering and transmission fluid are all crucial to ensuring your trip goes off without a hitch and prevents any costly issues in the future.

3. Give your car a thorough cleaning (inside and out)

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Now that your car is fit for the road, it’s time to make sure it’s a clean and comfortable space for your passengers. Aside from keeping your vehicle looking good as new, it’s far more enjoyable to go on a long-distance road trip in a clean car than it is to spend hours sitting amongst crumbs, dirt and garbage.

After a thorough vacuum, use a microfibre cloth and a car-specific detailing spray, like the Meguiar’s Quik Detailer Interior Cleaner, to wipe down your steering wheel, console and any high touch areas to remove any dust, grime and spills. Finish by cleaning your windows and adding an air freshener to mask any lingering odours.

4. Pack up your vehicle safely

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Sometimes a road trip calls for more supplies than your vehicle can carry. Installing a trailer hitch, like the MotoMaster Trailer & Towing Ball Mount Kit, makes it easier than ever to secure multiple bikes to your vehicle for endless summer fun.

For those who love to ride ATVs, motorbikes or have lots of road trip supplies, a utility trailer, like the Stirling Galvanized Utility Trailer can be a great investment, especially for those who frequently go on long road trips, camp, or travel to a cottage.

5. Upgrade your vehicle’s tech

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

The proper tech accessories can make all the difference when it comes to spending hours on the road. If your vehicle doesn’t have a built-in navigation system, you can invest in a GPS, like the Garmin Drive 51LM Car GPS, which comes complete with drive alerts and a directory of nearby restaurants, gas stations and more.

You can secure your GPS or even your smartphone to a phone mount, like Bluehive 3-in-1 Universal Phone Mount, so that you can safely reference your directions while you drive. There are also magnetic phone mounts that are less cumbersome but just as reliable so that you can check directions, enable voice assistance and take calls without compromising your safety.

Sometimes, especially during long drives, multiple passengers may need to recharge their devices at the same time. Inverters, like the Bluehive Inverter with Dual USB 120 W or the MotoMaster 500W Intelligent Inverter, make it easier to recharge multiple devices, including tablets, smartphones and laptops at once.

Travelling with kids can be stressful — so before you prepare yourself for a million "Are we there yet"s, it's also a good idea to outfit your vehicle with some tech upgrades to keep kids occupied. A portable DVD player and their favourite movie is a great way to keep kids occupied when games just won't cut it anymore. Or, if you already have their favourite videos stored on a tablet, a tablet mount is a great way to play media in a spot that all kids can see — without sticky fingers and potential spills.

6. Consider a dash cam

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Another way to increase your security and peace of mind during a long haul is by utilizing a dash cam. Installing a dash cam can help record evidence should you be involved in or witness an accident and save you the possibility of becoming involved in an insurance scam. Dash cams are helpful on a daily basis, but especially if you’re in an unfamiliar area or different terrain which could increase your chances of getting into an accident.


7. Get organized

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

When it comes to making your roadtrip enjoyable, organization is key. There's nothing worse than digging around for the right snacks, book or sweatshirt — so we suggest utilizing vehicle organizers whenever possible. 

Interior organizers, can help keep your vehicle’s necessities on-hand without causing clutter or taking up valuable real estate.

Canadian Tire offers a number of organizers in a variety of sizes and shapes, so you can keep everything you need neat, organized and accessible. From trunk organizers to keep each family member's items separate to a waterproof bag that easily fits on the back of a car seat to hold drinks and snacks, we promise a little pre-trip vehicle organization will go a long way. Another great idea? A hanging trash can to prevent crumbs, wrappers and coffee cups from creating a mess.

8. Rest easy

Photo via Getty Images
Photo via Getty Images

Despite planning, things can still sometimes go wrong — so it's important to have a contingency plan in place. Canadian Tire's Roadside Assistance program offers flexible plans to suit your needs — and allow you to rest easy on roadtrips. 

Beyond towing, boosts and flat tire changes, Roadside Assistance also offers a variety of other features, including fuel delivery, trip accident assistance and 24/7 service across Canada (and the U.S.A.). The flexibility and affordability of plans allow you to cover the driver, the vehicle or the whole family — plus there's lots of exclusive discounts beyond the road that you can also take advantage of. 

Summer is finally here — and Canadian Tire and Yahoo are helping you take advantage of every single moment. From weekend camping and roadtrip must-haves to tips on how to make your backyard the ultimate oasis, Everything Awaits you at Canadian Tire.

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