Summer road trips are a popular undertaking with car enthusiasts. Some people like to plan their whole trip down to the smallest detail, while others like to wing it and let the decision making happen on the road. Whichever way works best for you, one of the most important travel tips I can offer is to have your BMW serviced before you go. Start with an Oil Change & Tire Rotation, then finish it off with a Multi-Point Inspection to verify that all the other important components are safe and ready to perform during your trip. Read on for more helpful road trip tips that will get you fully prepared for your BMW road trip.
BMW Road Trip Routine Auto Maintenance
Having routine maintenance on your BMW is an excellent way to keep it running great and avoid surprise repairs. A good rule-of-thumb is to follow the suggested maintenance guidelines found in your owner’s manual. Your specific driving style, environment, and needs may require more or less frequent service appointments. A qualified technician can help you decide on the best service schedule for your BMW. If your summer road trip falls between your normal scheduled maintenance, discuss with them whether you should get it done earlier, or if it can wait until after your trip.
1. Multi-Point Inspection
A multi-point inspection covers most of the big systems, fluids, etc. and will let you know if anything should be addressed before your trip.
- Braking System
- Wheel Alignment & Balancing
- Cooling System
- A/C System
- Transmission System
- Full Fluids Check
- Headlamps, Tail Lights, Turn Indicators
- Windshield Wipers
- Filters, Hoses, Gaskets, Belts
2. Oil Change
An oil change is a pretty basic service that helps keep your engine properly lubricated, and also helps keep it cool and running efficient. This service usually includes replacing the oil filter at the same time you replace the oil. If your oil still has plenty of life, your technician may recommend you wait until after your trip to change it. Either way, having it checked before your trip is an easy way to avoid expensive and preventable repairs when you are far from home.
3. Tire Rotation
Experts recommend rotating your tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If you are taking an extended road trip, you can easily rack up those miles in no time. Since your tires don’t always wear at the same rate or in the same way, it’s a good practice to examine them frequently. Uneven tread wear can also signal that there are issues with your car’s alignment, suspension, tire pressure, or even the braking system. During a Tire Rotation Service, your tires can be examined for wear, damage, and correct tire pressure.
Check Spare Tire
Don’t forget to have the service technician check out the spare tire as well. If you experience a blow out or a flat tire while on your trip, having a spare tire in good working condition is crucial to getting back on your way quickly and safely.
4. Car Wash & Wax
Is getting your car washed really important before leaving for your road trip? Most experts agree that it is. Road grime, road salt, bird droppings, and bug juice can prove to be detrimental to your BMW’s paint, wheels, and chrome trim. Starting your road trip with a clean car means you have more visibility (clean windows are awesome) and less chance of baking contaminants into your paint job creating lasting damage.
Pack Essential Items
Leaving home on a road trip means leaving all your stuff. Now we all know that some stuff is essential to our well being. Make sure to think about those items that you actually need, and set them aside for packing. Here’s a helpful list to get you started.
Most of us can’t survive without our phones. So they are pretty much a given, but if you have kids, or plan on checking in with work while you’re gone, you may need to pack other items too. Be sure to bring all their necessary cables, cords and chargers too!
- Cell Phone
- Laptop or Tablet
- Headphones / Earbuds
- Digital Reader (Kindle, Nook, etc.)
- Digital Camera / Film Camera
- GPS Device
- Solar Panel Recharger
6. Comfort Items
These items are things that are not ‘necessary’, but they bring us comfort and would be missed if forgotten. These may vary greatly among people, so make sure to bring those items that work for you and your family specifically.
- Pillow & Cozy Blanket
- Favorite Stuffed Animal or Toy
- Sunblock / Sunscreen
- Hat / Lightweight Jacket
- Car Windshield Sun Screen or Reflector
7. Safety Items
It is best to be prepared for emergencies and unexpected situations. If you do end up stranded on the side of the road, or in the middle of nowhere, these items will help you until help arrives.
First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit can be purchased already put together, or you can make one up yourself. It should include at least these basic items.
- Hand Sanitizer & Wet Wipes
- Latex (or similar) Gloves
- Hazardous Waste Bags / Trash Bags
- Antibacterial Ointment, Burn Cream, Bug Repellant
- Adhesive Bandages, Gauze, Butterfly Bandages
- Scissors, Tweezers
- Non-prescription Medications for Pain and Allergy Relief
- Foil Blankets (for each person in the car)
An Emergency Kit is a little different than a First Aid Kit, although they do sometimes have some overlap. An Emergency Kit should include items to help you if you are stranded on the side of the road. Here is a good start for your Emergency Kit.
- Drinkable Water
- Non-Perishable Food
- High-Intensity Light Stick
- Tow Rope
- Jumper Cables
- Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- Waterproof Poncho or Windbreaker & Umbrella
- Leather Gloves
- Duct Tape
- Utility Knife or a Multi-tool
- Reflective Triangle and Vest
- A Backpack or Heavy Duty Bag (to carry it all in if you need to leave your car for help)
To be on the safe side, having some items with you when traveling keeps you covered in case the places you visit have different restrictions or protocols than the place where you live. Check the CDC for more information.
- Masks that cover your nose & mouth
- Hand Sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol)
- Alcohol Based Wet Wipes
Don’t forget to bring the necessary documentation with you. If you plan on crossing borders into another country, find out what you need BEFORE you go, so you are not turned away or refused entrance. Some travel destinations like National Parks, Camping Grounds, and Amusement Parks may also require specific documents or protocols, so do your research. You will also need the correct documents for traffic stops.
- Owner’s Manual for your vehicle
- Driver’s License/ ID Card/ Passport
- Medical Insurance Card
- Vehicle Insurance Card
- Vaccination Card
- Traditional Paper Maps or Directions (for all the locations you plan on traveling through). Your phone’s GPS may be useless when you need it most.
Pack Personal Items
Clothing & Shoes
Make sure to bring comfortable clothes and shoes that are appropriate for the climate and any activities you plan on doing. Think in layers so you can adjust as the temperature rises or falls without completely changing your whole outfit. Bring things that can be dressed up or down.
Keep things basic. Do you really need the 8 bottles of product in your shower? If you need more than just your toothbrush and some toothpaste, then travel size containers work great to condense many different products to be more manageable. Don’t forget your vitamins, supplements, and medications.
10. Food & Drinks
Be sure to keep plenty of water on hand at all times. Drinking plain water helps keep you hydrated and alert better than colas, coffee, or tea. You can add your favorite beverages to the mix too, but don’t rely on them completely. Fresh fruit and veggies can be refreshing while driving and keep you busy without loading you up on salt and sugar which can affect your mood when stuck in a car for long periods of time. Make sure to rest when you need to and walk around a bit whenever you stop for gas or food.
Full Service BMW + MINI Auto Repair in Pomona
Taylor Co BMW + MINI Independent Service center has been operating since 1989. Our goal is to provide BMW and MINI Cooper owners with a premier dealership alternative. Taylor Co’s trained and certified technicians use BMW specific tools and equipment to diagnose, service, and repair your vehicle. Let us show you the positive difference we can make to your BMW and MINI Cooper maintenance experience.
Schedule Your BMW Road Trip Service
We look forward to helping you prepare your BMW or MINI Cooper for your next road trip. Give us a call at (909) 593-6878 or visit our website to schedule your service appointment today!