It’s that time of year again—football season! And Canadian football fans are all fired up. After a disappointing cancellation in 2020, the Great White North is prepared for the return of its beloved nine-team league, which postponed the season for the first time since 1919 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you’re making plans to welcome back your favourite teams, it’s imperative that you ensure your vehicle is road ready performance- and safety-wise.
Whether you’re travelling in your own backyard to catch a Roughriders game or heading south to support the NFL, make sure your vehicle is up for the trip.
Before You Go
Failing to perform several essential inspections on your vehicle before a trip can lead to expensive breakdowns far from home. You don’t have to be a master mechanic to check your car or truck for potential problems.
Check the Fluids
Automobiles rely on numerous fluids to maintain proper temperatures, lubricate moving parts, and enhance their operation. You should first be aware of your engine oil life and capacity. Make sure the trip won’t push your vehicle beyond the recommended service intervals. Otherwise, schedule an oil change before you leave. You’ll also want to ensure it has plenty of oil by quickly checking the dipstick. If it’s low, be sure to top off the oil and pack a few extra quarts in case you lose capacity during your drive.
You’ll then want to check your antifreeze levels because the upcoming cool temperatures could cause low or ineffective systems to freeze and thus damage the engine and cooling system components. While you’re under the hood, take the time to check the accessible reservoirs to monitor fluid levels for brakes, power steering, transmission, and windshield cleaning solution.
One of the easiest ways to spoil your trip is travelling with low-tread tires or inflating them to the wrong psi. Avoid finding a flat tire at the stadium or experiencing a dangerous blowout by taking the following precautions before you leave:
- Don’t just rely on your vehicle’s TPMS system. Physically check the air pressure with a tire gauge and ensure the levels match the specifications listed inside the driver’s door.
- The legal limit of tire wear is 1.6 mm. Use a tread depth gauge to ensure your tires are in good shape.
- Continually monitor your tire treads for signs of uneven wear, exposed steel wires, or bulging.
Planning Your Trip
Modern technology has made travelling a much easier experience than when it involved using physical road maps and atlases. Take advantage of your satellite GPS to plan the trip and prepare for rest stops along the way if you’ll be driving long distance. With accurate directions and an expected arrival point, you have the benefit of leaving with ample time to ensure you arrive before the kickoff.
Before leaving, it’s also wise to prepare a travel budget for your trip that includes fuel expenses, dining, and unexpected vehicle issues.
Show Your Team Spirit
Whether you’re a Calgary Stampeders superfan or lean more toward their mortal enemies, the Edmonton Elks, you will want to show your support. In addition to wearing your favourite gear, you can jazz up your vehicle to mock the competition while you travel to the stadium.
Window Writing Tips
Window chalk or markers are an erasable solution for temporarily dressing your vehicle up for a special event. When choosing a writing tool, make sure it is either water- or oil-based for a more straightforward application and removal process. Shoe polish is a popular substance, but you should avoid it, as it can be difficult to remove and can damage your car’s paint job.
After the game, you may have to use a clean razor blade specially designed for glass use to remove the writing. Water-based markings will usually have to be scraped with a razor blade and cleaned with liquid detergent and warm water. Oil-based substances typically require acetone to make the window crystal clear. Simply apply the acetone with a clean cloth and thoroughly scrub the window with detergent and water afterwards.
Using Temporary Decals
Another great way to show your appreciation for your team is with decals of its logo or your favourite player’s number. Before applying a sticker, clean the surface you are placing it on and wait until it’s completely dry. Once the area is ready, begin removing a section of the protective backing and press the decal in place. You’ll want to continue slowly pulling the backing away and eliminate any bubbles that may form as air collects.
If you plan to dispose of the sticker after the game, you may need to apply elbow grease and special adhesive remover. In some cases, heating the decal with a hairdryer can expedite the process of pulling it off the painted surface. You’ll want something with a firm edge, such as a plastic razor blade, to begin removing it. Then, slowly lift off the decal. Inspect the surface to see if any unwanted residue is left behind, and use a glue remover to restore the paint to its original condition.
Packing for a Tailgate
No football game is complete without a pre-party tailgate. To pull it off successfully as a host, pre-planning is crucial. Start by making a list of the essential items and coordinate with other friends to pack what you can’t fit in your vehicle.
If you’re in charge of bringing the cooler, make sure it can travel on a flat surface. The ice will melt on your trip, and you’ll naturally want to avoid water leaking onto your seats or in your trunk. As you pack, try to sort items by the timeline of when they’ll be necessary. For instance, if you’re bringing the grill or flattop stove, put it in last for easy access. Doing that will allow you to preheat the cookware while you unpack other items, including chairs, tables, and parking lot games.
The most precious cargo to protect, though, is your game companions. Take special care to limit riders based on the vehicle’s maximum capacity limitations and ensure they are safe from items that may become dislodged while travelling.