Get up to date on regular maintenance
These next two are easy-to-do items that can make a big difference on a long drive. First, make sure all your lights are working properly. A burnt-out bulb is a great way to get a visit from the local police department while you’re on a trip. New bulbs only cost a few dollars and are easy to install yourself or are often free when getting your vehicle serviced.
The same goes for windshield wipers. If your blades are more than six months old, odds are it’s time to swap them out for new ones. Bad windshield wipers can make driving in the rain in a foreign land a nightmare.
Protect the interior
Don’t drive on the wrong tires
Winter tires are made with special low temperature resilient rubber compounds and have deep treads that grip unplowed snow and ice. Even the best all-season tires have compounds that get more brittle as the temperature drops, and when that happens, the tires tend to grip less. The winter tire compound remains pliable when temperatures are low, retaining grip and keeping the car’s safety systems, like all-wheel drive and anti-lock brakes, functioning properly.
Maintain the coolant system
Even if everything comes up good to go under the hood, replacing your engine’s coolant is cheap insurance against extreme temperatures. Over time, antifreeze can actually generate a weak electrical current, which can then cause oxidation and eventually failure inside of your coolant system. Keeping everything fresh inside will put less stress on your vehicle’s hardware and save you serious money in the long run.