If you’re planning a ski trip, you have a lot of preparation to do, especially if you are taking the whole family. You have to make sure that everyone has all the equipment that they need, the right clothing, and accessories too.
But, equally, you need to prepare the car too. Driving through the mountains to various ski resorts around the country is taxing for your vehicle. You need to ensure that you prepare it fully for the challenges that lie ahead.
In this post, we take a look at some of the ways that you need to prep your vehicle for an upcoming trip to the mountains. Putting in the effort now will help avoid problems on the road.
Ensure Your Wheels Are Aligned
If you’re planning on driving through the mountains, be sure that you align your wheels. If they’re out of whack - even by a small amount - it can affect how your vehicle handles in various conditions.
If you don’t know how to align your wheels yourself, then you can take your vehicle to a specialist mechanic and get them to do it for you.
Check Your Tires
When it comes to driving through mountainous territory, grip is essential. If there’s a problem with your tires, then your wheels could spin on steep inclines, especially if there is mud, water or snow on the road.
Begin by checking the tread on the tire. You should ideally have more than 2 mm. If you have less than this, then your tires will struggle to shed water and other debris.
Next, check the wear of the tire. Tires should wear evenly all over. However, if you notice that yours are wearing more on one side than another, it could be a sign of a wheel alignment issue.
If you know the wheels are aligned but you have strange wear and tear, check the tire pressure. If it is lower than the manufacturer’s suggestion, pump it up and check it a few days later. It should not lose pressure. If it does, it is a sign that you have a leak and need to choose a replacement tire.
Pack Your Mountain Driving Essentials
If you’re planning on driving in the mountains for a ski trip, then you’ll need to pack various essentials to keep you and your family safe. The risk of breaking down is quite high, so you’ll need to bring things with you that will keep you warm and provide you with nourishment.
- Drinking water
- A portable water filter
- Blankets for keeping warm while the engine is turned off
- Cash and cards so you can buy supplies
- First aid kit
- Flares and other tools you can use to signal for help
- Jumper cables if your battery fails due to the col
- De-icer and scrapers
- Tire chains
While these additions might seem extreme, it is better to be prepared in these matters.
Plot Your Trip
Before you start driving, you’ll want to map out your trip. Phone signals can be patchy in the mountains, so you might not be able to use your GPS as you normally would. Keep an atlas in your vehicle at all times, and work out where you’re going to go ahead of time.
Check Your Vehicle Is Roadworthy
If you’re travelling to another country in your vehicle, you’ll also need to make sure that it is legal. Some countries have standards for private plates, car mods and other vehicle changes that might differ from what’s allowed back home. Before you drive, check the rules and make sure that you are compliant. Usually, if your vehicle is standard issue, then you shouldn’t have any trouble. Please be aware that if you are taking your car to Europe, you may have to keep things like high-visibility jackets in the glove box.
Test Your Brakes
The slope of terrain in the mountains can be extreme. Not only will your vehicle need to have the power to go uphill, but it will also require extra stopping power when going downhill as well.
It’s a good idea, therefore, to regularly test your brakes. Make sure that they are working adequately before you set off. Sometimes the rotors and brake pads can become scaled if you don’t use them aggressively enough, so safe drivers need to be wary. If you discover problems with your brakes, take your vehicle to a mechanic to solve the problem.
Check Your Oil
Lastly, be sure to check your oil and the level of other fluids in your vehicle. Make sure that you have enough wiper fluid to manage unwanted spray.