Taking Your Classic on a Road Trip? Make Sure You’re Ready

Taking Your Classic on a Road Trip? Make Sure You’re Ready

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Taking your classic on a road trip takes far more preparation than if you were simply taking it around the block. Preparation will ensure a much smoother and more enjoyable trip. Keep these things in mind before you hit the road.

Car Type – Not all classic are created equal when it comes to touring. Just like modern cars, some classics are built better for long trips while others do better on short jaunts. Keep this in mind before you get out there and figure it out the hard way.

Wheels and Tires – Inspect the tires thoroughly for any type of damage: cracks, breaks, cuts, or crazing. Using a very bright light can help you see both sides of the tire as well as the tread, which should not show excessive wear. Also check the valve stems for cracks or breaks. Of course, tire pressure should also be a concern; you want to make sure the tires are properly inflated.

Wheels should not have any rust, breaks or bends, particularly at the bolt holes and rim edges. Make sure the lug nuts are tight as are the wire wheel spokes. Doesn’t hurt to have your wheel balance checked. Also, give your spare a good once over and make sure you have all the necessary tire changing tools in the car. Oh, and test your jack before you leave or you could be left in a lurch.

Braking System – Check the fluid levels in the braking system and top off as needed. Take a good look at your master cylinder, checking for clogs and any problems. Press the brake pedal; there should be some resistance. If it easily goes to the floor, you have a problem. Check your parking brake and the brake drums. You also want to ensure that the brake lights work as they should.

Frame and Chassis – Inspect the frame for any damage, rust, or problem areas. Make sure the car sits level and that the shocks are in good working order. Look for anything that may be amiss around the motor mounts or steering parts. Nothing should be loose, missing, or bent.

Front End – Check your headlights, hoses, and electrical connections. Make sure there are no leaks or loose connections. The engine bay should be clean as well as should the battery. Make sure that the battery cables are clean and tight. Also, an engine tune up, even a minor one, certainly wouldn’t hurt. You want everything to be in good working order.

Cooling System – Overheating can be a huge problem so take some time to really inspect your radiator. Shine a light through the fins and flush out any clogs that can restrict airflow, and make sure to check all the hoses and belts. Also test the thermostat and radiator cap. Finally, flush the cooling system. Refill with new coolant.

Lights and Mirrors – Check all the lights on your car: headlamps, taillights, parking lights, and directional signals. If any aren’t working properly, repair them. If your car doesn’t have something like directional lights, install them. Check your mirrors to make sure there are no cracks and that they are properly positioned

Basically, you want everything to be tight and right. You don’t want any hanging wires or wires sticking out. Your doors should shut properly and your seats should be bolted securely and safety belts should be attached to the frame. A solid inspection before you head out means a safer ride – and that always improves the quality for your trip.

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