Road trips are an affordable and more flexible alternative to travel by air or rail, the downside is your vehicle will need routine maintenance and the occasional major repair. Over countless miles and traveling in probably every conceivable weather condition, I’ve come to depend on these two pieces of critical automobile safety gear.
1. Diagnostic Scanner Engine Code Reader
A diagnostic scanner engine code reader tool is a useful “troubleshooting” device when your car breaks down and you don’t know which section of the user manual to turn to first. We recently owned a vehicle that would stop running on any trip greater than two hours from home; having a code reader tool helped me to better communicate with both the tow truck driver and remote repair shop (knowing which body shop could handle the repair). Typically you plug the receiving end into a panel on the front dashboard (identify where this is and practice before you head out on the open road).
2. Battery Powered Jumper Cables
Battery powered jumper cables are a must have for anyone living in a cold-weather climate, and an excellent backup plan for anyone with an older vehicle or traveling to a remote corner of the country (kids that leave a dome light on overnight, etc. etc. ). Being able to jump start your own car is empowering; no more asking for a jump or having to manually maneuver your vehicle to a position where it can face another engine block. Some units slowly lose a charge over time, so regularly check the gauge and know that it typically takes several hours to replace the juice in the battery.
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.
In March 2018 Julie Henning published the book "100 Things to Do in Eugene Before You Die" (Reedy Press). She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.
She has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, Travel Wisconsin, Travel Oregon, Hometown News Group, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine (DNR publication), Experience Michigan Magazine, the Official Oregon Wine Touring Guide, Metro Parent Milwaukee Magazine, Eugene Cascades & Coast Official Visitors Guide, Trivago, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, Amtrak.com, Eugene Magazine, and FTF Geocacher Magazine.
Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio. She has produced episodes for Journey of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. Julie has also produced travel apps with Sutro Media and Bindu Media. She works full time in marketing.
Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast.
She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee.
Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.