Alice's Poet license plate

Alice’s Poet license plate

If you’ve just published your book, you’re likely to be hitting the road meeting folks from all over your state or adjoining states for book signings, conferences, festivals and book clubs. Is your car up to the task? Because nothing sucks more than your car breaking down as you’re headed to a gig and you missing your opportunity to shine.


You can be sure that my 2008 Subaru Outback with 132K miles gets proper maintenance before I hit I-40 or I-95. Already I’ve racked up 2.5K author miles in 2014! When my Subaru was newer I assumed we’d get to my destinations without issue, but now whenever I seen strange dashboard lights flashing or smell oily smells I immediately call Chuck my Subaru Service guy (who’s on speed dial) to head off any potentially expensive problems before I back out of my driveway for a long trip.


Here are several of my road trip tips and if you follow them you’ll be saving lots of dollars and headaches down the road (pun intended).



  • Be sure to change your oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles unless you drive more frequently, then you should change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.


  • Keep your tires properly inflated and check to make sure you don’t have any nails or other sharp objects imbedded in your treads. Everything depends on your four wheels! Having good tires with strong treads also increases your fuel efficiency.


  • Don’t cover up your “Check Engine” light with a piece of duct tape and hope for the best. Find out what’s bothering your engine.


  • Change your air filters on a regular basis—this is another gas-saving item. It’s a good idea to change your filters when you change your oil.


  • Just like making sure you have all the right gear packed for your trip (suitcase, books, notes, laptop, smart phone charger), you also want to bring an emergency roadside kit that includes a fire extinguisher, flares, jumper cables, and a First Aid kit.


Plus, it’s a smart idea to carry the contact number of your host close by so you can call/text that person if you get into a jam.


Good luck on your published book and Happy Trails!


Your turn:
I’d like to hear about your maintenance and/or road trip tips!