Intro. Road trips into the mountains and particularly into the Himalayan regions are meant to be pleasant fulfilling memorable yet challenging in order to get that satisfaction that comes from accomplishing something worthwhile. However right preparation is essential to ensure that the road trip does not turn in to something of a major disaster with unpleasant experiences and besides safety related issues. One of the critical area of preparation is preparing oneself and also the RIDE which will be facing a lot of adverse conditions. Hence your RIDE has to be prepared even better than you.
When I began going on road trips I was fortunate to read about them before hand through various articles spread all over the internet and hence I had a fair amount of idea as to what needs to be prepared for the same and then as the saying goes; experience is a great teacher and those road trips taught me a lot. I thought of reproducing few key areas for the benefit of other like minded individuals.
Preparation. Your RIDE needs to be prepared in minute detail for the trip, lot of thought and planning has to go into to ensure that one does not come to grief high up on lonely mountain roads. The vehicle preparation can be categorised into two main categories:
(a) Vehicle Preparation.
(b) Accessories that will be carried along as spare.
(a) Vehicle Preparation. Arguably one of the most critical amongst all, the steed that is going to take you to all far flung places better be geared up mentally and physically to endure the rigours that it will be subjected to. The following key area need to be looked into
- Replace tyres if >50% worn as on date of journey.
- 100 % POL (engine oil , hydraulic steering oil, coolant) to be replaced
- 100 % filters to be renewed and these include air, petrol/diesel filters.
- Wiper blades to be changed and wiper tank to be filled with windshield cleaning solution in addition.
- In case drive belts have been in use> 60K kms or > 03 years, these have to be changed.
- Engine timing belt if in use >80 km or > 04 years to be replaced.
- Rubber hoses if cracked (even hair line) to be changed as in temperature drop the crack will widen immediately.
- New brake Pads to be put in if existing have run >35K kms
- Clutch to be serviced and changed if found > 50 % worn out
- Wheel bearings to be checked
- Wheel alignment to be undertaken.
- Suspension roll bar to be checked.
- Entire suspension to be torque tightened and checked for any damage or cracked components.
- Doors hinges to be greased.
- Chassis linkages to be greased completely.
- Air Conditioning to be serviced
- Engine mountings to be checked for condition and suppleness. If found hard , to be changed.
- Grease all moving parts where applicable.
- There should be no loose bolt, nut etc as they will fall off eventually. Hence each nut and bolt to be tightened.
- For Diesel Engines, the glow plugs to be checked and if in use for long time, replace the same.
- For petrol engines, spark plugs if in use > 20000 km or > 02 yrs in service to be replaced.
- Battery performance to be checked and if battery > 03 years to be replaced even if working satisfactorily.
- All lights to be checked for operation and correct alignment.
- The fuse compartment to be checked and if any fuse links found worn/ disfigured to be replaced.
(b) Accessories to be carried as spare
- One set of fuses to be carried
- Spare light bulbs to be carried
- Electric jump starter cable to be carried
- Portable air compressor
- Heavy duty rope for tow purpose
- “D” shackles to attach the rope to.
- Small shovel
- Puncher repair kit
- Air filter, oil filter
- Engine oil, coolant, gear oil, break oil (complete recommended quantity)
- Heavy blanket for the engine compartment to protect the engine from low temperature while at night
- Portable heavy duty torch with adequate cells as they will be consumed fast.
- Military grade jerry cans for spare fuel along with a snout compatible with the fuel inlet dimensions.
- Digital multimeter
- Colin and large number of newspapers to clean the vehicle glasses properly each evening.
- Tools- (i) Spanner set (include both open as well as box spanners, complete range)
(ii) Screw driver set (include both star head as well as flat head, complete range)
Hope this article of mine gives you a comprehensive check off list for preparing your RIDE , the next time you head into the mountains or to offbeat regions of this country .