It’s gourd-eous out! Are you planning one final getaway before winter comes? Or, do you enjoy a nice drive to see all the colors fall has to offer? No matter what your plans are, it’s a great time to enjoy fall in all of its glory with a road trip.
Before you hit the road for the nearest apple orchard or Hocking Hills, ensure you have everything you need for a smooth drive:
1. Check your alignment. Poor alignment can cause problems for your vehicle if it’s not addressed. Without proper alignment, tires wear more quickly, overall handling drops and fuel efficiency decreases.
2. Check your spare tire. Many newer car models don’t come with a spare tire in order to improve fuel economy, so first make sure you have one. If you do, it’s important to remember that they typically are designed for only temporary use (up to about 50 miles). Even if you’re traveling a short distance, if previously the spare was used as the fourth tire for any length of time, it likely needs to be replaced. When in doubt, have an expert examine your spare; Tire Discounters provides this service for free.
3. Examine oil, wiper fluid and coolant levels before the drive. It’s a great idea to have your car’s fluid levels checked before you leave so you can enjoy your quick getaway without any car trouble.
4. Perform a quick brake light, headlight and turn signals test: If you’re embarking on a quick day trip, you don’t want it to end on a bad note when you discover one of your tail lights is out on the dark drive back. Be sure to test out your turn signals, brake lights and headlights before you leave.
5. Replace wiper blades before traveling. It’s a good idea to change wiper blades during the fall season before winter hits. If you haven’t done this recently, consider replacing them before leaving for a road trip. And, you’ll want maximum visibility for viewing all the colorful leaves!
6. Always carry an emergency kit with you. There’s never a good time for your car to break down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Be sure to have extra gloves, boots, blankets (for cool nights) and flares. Pack an extra phone charger to keep your phone alive. Also, consider having a jumper box so you can jump your own car without having to rely on a Good Samaritan.
Looking for fall road trip ideas?
- For the urban explorer: Don’t forget all the great cities that are within about 100 miles: Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Lexington and Louisville.
- For apple orchards and pumpkin patches: Many orchards and farms will have Facebook pages with their hours and offerings; consider starting with Yelp or a quick Google search to research from there.
- For the outdoor enthusiast: Ohio has over 70 state parks, and within 100 miles of Cincinnati are 18 parks – there are so many to explore!
- For the scenic drive to watch the leaves: Don’t forget to check the Ohio color report to see when the trees will be at their color-changing peak before you plan your trip.
- For the outdoor enthusiast:Red River Gorge is one of the nation’s most scenic natural landmarks – featuring trails, zip lines and great areas to camp out. If that’s not your speed, Mammoth Cave is another famous Kentucky destination – and part of the state’s only National Park.
- For the history buffs: Explore the General George Patton Museum – which shows off some of his personal stories, artifacts and film while viewing the foremost collection of Patton material in the world. You can stop by the Fort Knox gold depository on the way.
- For the outdoor enthusiast: Visit the Great Smokey Mountains – America’s most-visited National Park. Enjoy the fall colors as you hike many of their scenic trails or visit numerous restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures.
- For the music lover: Tennessee is rich with music history and talent. Check out the Grand Ole’ Opry – which is rated the number one attraction in Nashville according to Trip Advisor. Or head down to the south end of the state and visit Graceland – the home of Elvis Presley.