Preparing Your Diesel Car for a Cross-Country Road Trip This Summer

Road trips emerged as saviors for travel buffs amid the pandemic when it wasn’t safe to take flights. They are a staple for adventure-loving Americans even after life is back to usual. States like Texas are the favorites because they are big and scenic. Cross-country drives are also popular in the US. Nothing sounds better than planning your route, stopping where you want, and embarking on impromptu trips. You are in control, and you have all the flexibility you want.

Diesel cars make the best companions for road trippers because they are more fuel-efficient than their gasoline counterparts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, diesel engines offer 30% more fuel efficiency as diesel contains 10%-15% more energy than gasoline. With the average annual mileage for lighter vehicles dropping by 7% in the country in 2020, every drop you save counts.

Whether you own a diesel car or plan to buy one for your long road trips, you need to understand the significance of keeping it ready for the highway. That’s even more crucial in the hot weather when most Americans embark on long drives.

Here are a few actionable tips for preparing your diesel car for a cross-country adventure.

Get a Maintenance Check


Experts recommend maintenance checks for diesel cars every 6 months or 10,000 km, whichever comes first. But doing it sooner than later makes sense when you plan to drive cross-country. That applies even to a cross-state trip if you choose a vast state like Texas. You cannot cover it in a day, and you will need a few days to navigate it if you stop along the route.

The best piece of advice for drivers is to get a complete health check for your vehicle before embarking on the journey. It is something you should do in the summer months anyways. We spoke to an owner of a diesel mechanic shop in San Antonio. Addam Bradshaw, owner of Texas Elite Auto & Diesel, says “We see an influx of diesel engines overheating during the summer months.”

A maintenance check should include the following elements:

  • Oil changes
  • Tire replacement if needed
  • Wheel checks
  • Transmission, battery, and light checks
  • Diagnostics assessments

A thorough check makes the journey hassle-free and gives you peace of mind as you need not stress about an unexpected breakdown along the way.

Pay Attention to Air Conditioning

Although snow and cold winds are not something to worry about during long road trips in summer, the heat can get on your nerves. Texas is braced for an extreme heat wave this season, with the average June temperature in the state touching 82.2 degrees, which is 2.6 degrees higher than the 20th-century average.

Imagine being in the middle of the road on a scorching day without your car’s air conditioning running properly. When you take your diesel car for a maintenance check, ask the mechanic to pay extra attention to its air conditioning. Don’t hesitate to spend a bit if it needs repairs or replacements because you will thank yourself during the trip.

Prepare a Tool Kit


A maintenance check for your diesel car gives you a head start during a cross-country road trip. But you cannot undermine the possibility of a breakdown along the way. Statistics show that caution can be a savior, considering that 69 million vehicle breakdowns occur in the US every year. That means 1-in-3 American drivers have to deal with them. But it is the last thing you want to encounter on a long road trip.

You must pack a toolkit to stay safe and sane if the worst happens. Here is a checklist of essentials you must have:

  • Jack
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Light bulbs
  • Headlight restoration kits
  • Air filters
  • Spare tires
  • Microfiber towels
  • Windshield wipers

Besides having the essentials at hand, you should train yourself a bit to carry out basic repairs when you cannot get help in a remote location.

Check Your Insurance

Besides preparing your diesel car physically for the rigors of the road, ensure insurance coverage. Your policy should be up-to-date, so double-check its expiry and renew before embarking on the journey. Consider a comprehensive policy if a renewal is around the corner because it offers an extra layer of protection.

You can pick some valuable add-ons such as breakdown assistance and passenger cover. With breakdown assistance, you need not worry about the repair bills if your car gives up in an unknown place. Passenger cover ensures coverage of medical expenses for your fellow passengers if an unfortunate accident halts your journey.

Give Your Car a Good Clean


This one is easy to miss, but it can make all the difference when you spend hours and hours inside your car. You don’t want it to be smelly or messy, right? Ensure that your vehicle is squeaky clean inside and outside, from the seat to the floor mats, dashboard, mirrors, and windows. Check the trunk to create a clean and safe space for storing your luggage.

A DIY job suffices if you keep your car regularly clean, but don’t skimp on a professional wash if it needs a thorough cleaning. Remember to install a new air freshener for a fresh feel. You may consider changing the seat covers if they look and smell odd. Keep some trash bags handy if you plan a trip with kids or someone with road sickness. The last thing you want to deal with is messy interiors.


A summer cross-country road trip sounds thrilling for an adventure lover. You may drive solo, embark with your gang, or make it a quality vacation with your family. But it takes more than choosing your destination and deciding on a roadmap.

Owning a diesel car puts you in a good place when it comes to performance and efficiency. But you need to ensure that your vehicle is ready to bear the brunt of the heat and distance. By sticking with these simple road-readiness measures, you can make your journey a breeze. Most importantly, follow the rules and drive safely.

Related posts

Family Road Trips: How to Maximize Luggage Space in Your Sedan

John Gray

Tips for The Perfect Road Trip Across Ukraine

Borin Oldborg

Driving Around the Beautiful State of Washington – 5 Fun Things to Do

Borin Oldborg