Preparing Your Vehicle For A Road Trip To Moab, Utah

Completing these two fundamental tasks before your road trip can save your life, and sustain the lifespan of your vehicle.

Moab, Utah is a great weekend road trip in the Western United States, especially if you’re near The Four Corners (where you can stand on the state line of Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Arizona, all at once). Not only is the scenery on the drive beautiful, but also, the outdoor offerings once you arrive are accessible and range from leisurely to extreme. Driving from Denver, CO or Las Vegas, NV will take you about 6.5 hours, Salt Lake City, UT 4, and Phoenix, AZ 7.5 hours on main roads. Once in Moab, there are hundreds of 4×4 trails and old mining roads on which you can take your Jeep on or hop in a rental to access.

If you want to visit Moab or the likes, first and foremost you must prepare your vehicle for a road trip.

We chose Hercules® Terra Trac® AT II (All Terrain), a great road trip tire at an affordable price.

Ensuring that you are prepared requires two important checks.

  • Tires
  • Oil Change

 

[clickToTweet tweet=”The reason you should invest in new tires before your road trip is for your safety.” quote=”The reason you should invest in new tires before your road trip is for your safety.” theme=”style1″]

 

Tires serve primarily as your point of contact between you and the road you are on. Without them, you are going nowhere. With the right equipment for your needs, tires can enhance your capability everywhere.

 

Checking on your oil gives you or your service provider the opportunity to do an inspection on the vital components that keep your ride in proper shape.

 

Simply put: Every responsible driver-no matter how experienced-should do a vehicle check up, beginning with tires and next oil, before heading out on a road trip away from home and resources.

Hercules® Terra Trac® AT II (All Terrain) tires look great and handle well on loose roads. Photo credit: Harry Wagner.

The base equipment we chose this road trip was our 2008 Jeep Commander. In an environment with extreme pressure changes, such as Arizona (where our Jeep lives), it is recommended that no matter the tread depth, you strongly consider changing your tires every two years. Direct sunlight and the dry conditions of desert life tend to do a number on rubber, causing it to crack which can eventually lead to a blowout at highway speed. Scary!

 

For us, it was a great idea to consider new tires. The road to Moab from Phoenix traverses a long stretch with limited services. Our tires were more than two years old, and we had done many road trips in the recent past.

 

Secondly, we were ready for a bit more of an aggressive style. We chose the Jeep Commander for its cargo space, but whether it be switchbacks or dirt roads, the handling is equally important. It was time for an upgrade from a highway tire to an all-terrain, which as its name suggests, is suitable for both fast and shifting roads.

 

We chose Hercules® Terra Trac® AT II (All Terrain) tires, to compliment the factory 17×7.5” wheels on our Jeep Commander. We had heard a bit of chatter about Hercules, and we collectively decided that this would be an optimal choice for our needs.

 

The traction we chose is made in America, which caught our attention as a brand that offers incredible value at an affordable price point. Hercules guarantees their Terra Trac AT II with a 60,000-mile warranty, which we appreciate. We feel good when a company has an excellent road hazard protection plan too.

This is a great choice for a daily driver. If our choice isn’t right for you, Hercules does offer a wide variety of tire options.

 

The next step was a trip to our local service provider. We set up our oil changes on a package system with our local Jeep dealership to ensure that the process of visiting the dealership remains painless. Setting up an oil change package is part of FCAs MVP warranty plan. What we like about this is, we pay one time up front for four oil changes, and then when we’re due for an oil change, at minimum our costs are covered. If you are not servicing your vehicle yourself, your local dealership should be your first choice. Most Jeep dealers stand behind their work and are required to use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts.

 

In Arizona we take all of our Jeeps to Tempe Dodge. We know both our service manager and primary technician by name. For us, this is paramount, as we accrue miles of memories we want to ensure that the level of service we receive both as customers and in terms of quality is consistent. Tempe Dodge makes the customer experience part easy. Most of Tempe Dodge’s service writers were once technicians during their career, which means they are versed in problem solving concerns. We bring this up because we work with many dealerships across the country, and we have learned that not all are created equal, no matter of the standard in place. Get to know who is handling your vehicle, just as you learn the nuances that make your road trip rig yours, and one that you would confidently put your family in for a journey.

 

Below is a list of our service prior to our Road to Moab.

 

  • Oil Change
  • Tune Up
  • Tri-combo service (three process cleaning of throttle body, intake manifold, and additive into the fuel tank)
  • Replace Water Pump (we had a little crack, best to replace)
  • Thermostat and upper and lower hoses and drive belt (since these parts are removed during water pump repair)
  • Alignment (important with new tires)
  • Battery (like tires, in extreme weather use the 2-year replacement rule)
  • Front Struts (one was leaking, so we replaced them)
  • K Flush (if you’re part of the high milers club, 100,000+ be sure to change your fluids, such as transmission fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid)

Does the aforementioned list apply to every vehicle? No, of course not. Our road trip “tune-up” was supplied by the life and history of the vehicle; all of which has been recorded in previous records held by our service provider.

 

After discussing with the service manager however, he stressed the importance of routine oil changes for every vehicle owner, as an opportunity to do the once-over check of all related systems.

 

The end result of our invested time on our 2008 Jeep Commander essentially was peace of mind. Prior to departing on our Road to Moab journey, we were fully confident that the equipment we were operating would safely get us to where we wanted to go. We received added benefits such as increased fuel economy, and the readiness to get a bit more off-road, which you can read about on our road to Moab post.

 

We teamed up with both Hercules Tires and Tempe Dodge in preparation for a road trip to Moab, Utah. In exchange for product to test, we provided our honest feedback. Any opinions regarding the aforementioned are our own, and should be considered after an honest test but not as the only word available.

 

That being said, we would not recommend a tire brand or a service department that we ourselves would not trust or use. If you would like us to send you more information regarding Hercules Tire’s product line or what Jeep dealerships we recommend in your region, include your email below and we can provide you more information.

 

If you have questions regarding your personal vehicle’s prep for a road trip, we’d love to hear your feedback.

Leave us a comment below.

Perfect Days Getaways: Moab, Utah

Road Trip to Moab, Utah from Phoenix, Arizona

Visitors from all over the globe have discovered this secret spot in the middle of nowhere. No need to request time off or travel the globe, you can make your weekend a little more exciting with this amazing getaway to Moab, Utah.

road trip

For adventure travel, Moab is a must.
Photo credit: Harry Wagner

Moab is the place where dreams come true. Sorry Disney, you’re nice, but the stars are aligned here, and you can see them! We love Moab for countless reasons, which we have acquired over years of annual visits.

 

Once a year we drive 467 miles from Phoenix, AZ to Moab, UT. Before our road trips, we take our vehicles through a through inspection by a professional. You can read about how we prepared our Jeep Commander in our accompanying post, Preparing Your Vehicle. Once ready, we packed the car with things we love and took towards the road to Moab.

Departing from Phoenix Sky Harbor, this capitol city’s major airport, and the city center, we drove up I-17 North towards Flagstaff, Arizona. This major northern city is an alpine gateway to Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks and located at the crossroads that can lead you towards Barstow, CA, Albuquerque, NM or of course, Moab, UT. Once in Flagstaff, our first stop was gas.

 

The first data we collected on our Road to Moab was a computation of our mileage. This quick assessment is something every driver can do, and great information for your trip notes, so that next time you roughly know your costs and needs.

 

For the first leg of our drive, (about 2.5 hours) we averaged 19 miles per gallon. Prior to our new tires and vehicle tune-up, our average mile per gallon with the 3.7L V6 motor in our Jeep Commander, ranged between 14-16 miles per gallon. That is over 18% more value per gallon based on a new tires and a tune up!

 

Here is the step-by-step formula we use to calculate our fuel economy.

  • Set Trip Meter (A or B) to 0
  • Drive until its time to refill the tank (i.e.-165mi)
  • Identify how many gallons were purchased (i.e.-13.5 gal)
  • Divide miles on the trip meter by gallons added to the tank (i.e.165/13.5=12.2 (fuel economy))
  • Reset the trip meter for next calculated distance

 

 

Before departing, we took some time to check out an unassuming find. The Little America Hotel is a unique and a historic staple if you’re passing through Flagstaff. Built in the early 1950s, The Little America is one of only four of its kind across the western United States.

 

Robert Earl Holdings, owned this small hotel chain along with the Sinclair Oil Corporation, hence the presence of fueling stations adjacent to all of the Little America Hotels; a modern oddity. The name Little America is a clever derivative of the famously remote exploration base in Antarctica used for research from the 1930s-1950s. Until the mid-2000s, billboards with arctic imagery peppered the western highways encouraging weary travelers to their oasis-like locations, also known as, The Little America Hotels.

On the Road to Moab, Flagstaff is an ideal stop for most road travelers.

The on-site travel center at the hotel hosts Northern Arizona Tire, which is an authorized dealer of Hercules Tires. The two of us were tickled to find Hercules signage, and we took at as a sign to hit the road!

 

Saying good-bye to Flagstaff, we headed towards Route 89, which leads east. For the next 5 hours and half hours, it was time to put our Hercules A/T II’s to the test. Navigating from Flagstaff to Moab most directly leads to US-160 E, a stretch of road that offers the iconic imagery of miles of ribbony roadway amongst little else.

 

Generally, we do our best to drive this portion of The Road to Moab in the daylight with little delay. Rte 89 turns to US-160 E by a small town called Tuba City and is mostly one lane in each direction, devoid of roadway lights.

 

Remaining near the speed limit, this long portion of our drive gave both of us drivers the chance to test our endurance skills, as well as the dry condition handling of our new tires. Having already noted our gain in fuel economy, our perception going in was positive.

Upgrading to a more aggressive tread initially lead Brittany to reservations that towards our highway experience that would include a gain in road noise. We kept the entertainment system off, and the new equipment was whisper quiet. Satisfied? Check!

 

When we initially drove off with our new Terra Trac A/T II’s, the feel of the road beneath us was evident, but no more “noisy”. Luckily during this trip we did not experience any real-world need to “panic break” (in our case, the test the vehicle’s power to stop and the length of road needed to slow your vehicle down), we did break quickly for fun, and felt fully confident during our safely demonstrated traction test.

 

Our objective during our road to Moab was to traverse a road that is well known to us and to do so as safely and efficiently as possible. We experienced some high winds, but no out of the ordinary circumstances.

Enjoy off-road adventuring

With the right equipment, you can get off the beaten path in Moab.

Highway 191 northbound leads right into Moab’s main street, and with that you are ready for adventure!

 

Once in Moab, we were amped to test the performance of our Jeep Commander on some of the trails, something we had been itching to do for a while. During our adventure to Moab, Jeep Week was in full swing, so we also stopped by the Hercules Tire booth at the vendor show near the end of the week. You can learn more about what we discovered about the Terra Trac A/T II’s unique tread pattern and how that affects wear in our blog on The Jeep Girls Ladies Run.

 

Below is a bulleted list of our route from Phoenix, AZ-Moab, UT as an example itinerary with notes.

 

Total drive time: 7h 32m

Total miles: 472 mi

Estimated Fuel Cost: $59.24 (at 19 mpg and $2.44/gal)

  • Begin on I-10 West
  • Merge onto I-17 N at exit 143A
  • Merge onto I-40 E at exit 340A
  • Take exit 201 towards US-89 N
  • Turn right onto US 160 E
  • Turn left onto US 191 N
  • Arrive in Moab

 

Each year we head to Moab because we love it! If you would like to collaborate on a custom road trip to Moab itinerary, leave us a comment. We have excellent recommendations on roadside stops and overnight stays on your road trip to Moab.

Hercules Terra Trac A/T II c/o.

#1 Road Trip Rule: Why You Should Change Your Oil

It’s not just about the oil.

Preparing for a road trip should always begin with safety, especially as your vehicle reaches important milestones.

Summer is approaching, and for many of us, that means road trips! Just thinking about hopping in the Jeep with friends has got us dreaming of beaches, bikinis and open water kayaking. Before we get off on another subject completely, let’s get serious. If you want to go on a road trip, you must have a solid set of wheels.

 

On one of our first road trips, the warning light on the dash came on midway though, and we ignored it. Luckily the tire did not show its ugly flat face until it was safely parked in the driveway again. No matter who you are or what your background, it’s important to not ignore the health of your vehicle before you take it on a trip.

If you’re like us, your Jeeps don’t spend their lives parked in the garage, they get out and acquire miles of memories. As those miles gain, there are certain milestones that mean things, and if you pay attention, scheduling maintenance will save you money and keep you safely on the road way longer than a vehicle that doesn’t receive the same care.

Oil changes are a chance for you or your service provider to do a full inspection. This prevents future problems and extends lifespan of your vehicle. [social_warfare buttons=”Twitter”]

There are different factors that apply to when you should change your oil. If you often road trip, 3,000 miles is a safe measure (if you use synthetic oil, 6k is the suggestion, and that’s okay if you’re not running hard). On that note, if you live in an area with extreme pressure changes (such as, Arizona or Alaska), get your oil changed more often than less.

An oil change is a chance to inspect all your fluids.

Before we set off on our #RoadToMoab, we stopped by Tempe Dodge, our local Chrysler Jeep dealership to get our Jeep Commander checked out. With 137,000 miles on it, we wanted to make sure everything was up to snuff. We love visiting our local dealership, as they keep our high mileage Jeeps running well! They’re customer service is the best and these guys take ownership over their work! The best part is they are very nice, they only use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts and their work comes with a guarantee.

Below is a list of the service we performed before our Road to Moab trip.

  • Oil Change ( every 3,000 miles)
  • Tune Up (new spark plugs)
  • Tri-combo service (three process cleaning of throttle body, intake manifold, and additive into the fuel tank)
  • Water Pump (we had a little crack, best to replace it)
  • Thermostat and upper and lower hoses and drive belt (since these parts come off during water pump repair)
  • Battery ( with extreme pressure changes, batteries only last  2 years-ish)
  • Front Struts (one was leaking, so we replaced them)
  • K Flush (if you’re part of the high miles club, 100,000+ be sure to change your fluids, such as transmission fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid)
  • New Hercules All-Terrain Tires
  • Alignment

Tempe Dodge sponsored this post, however all opinions of their service are completely our own. We have been taking our Jeeps to Tempe Dodge for years, and we wouldn’t tell you to go there if we this was not our choice as well. We can not recommend every dealership what we have worked with, and if you would like assistance for your Jeep’s maintenance where you live, send us an email, we’d be happy to assist.

Brittany is an award winning fine art photographer and internationally published writer who is more than busy, and happy, putting her skills to work on TheJeepGirls and TheJeepGirlsBlog with her little sister. She never thought that she would be managing a blog biz, but if she admits it, she has been “blogging” for 15+ years through internet platforms. She loves learning about neurolinguistic programming, is a voracious reader, sometimes sappy romantic fiction, and works best on deadline. Her best buddy is her white Pomeranian, Glacier, but her family and her boyfriend make her world possible. She feels at home in Spandex with sparkling water, and a 1lb. bag of baby carrots beside her and her furry friend.