Ways to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip


Are you ready for vacation? Is your vehicle ready, too? If you are setting out on a road trip during the summer months, there are some preparations that you should make to your car before hitting the road. You don’t want to end up stranded on an unfamiliar road far from home. Take these steps to ensure that doesn’t happen to you.

  • Clean your car. This might not seem like a big deal, but if the interior of your car is clean, you’ll be able to find things you need during the trip. Cleaning the exterior is important to keep your car looking and functioning well.

  • Fill your gas tank. During the trip, fill your car’s gas tank when it is half full. This way you won’t unexpectedly run out of gas.

  • Change your car’s oil and oil filter.

  • Change your car’s air filter.

  • Change your car’s spark plugs.

  • Check your car’s coolant level. If you haven’t flushed your car’s radiator in a while, you should do that before a road trip.

  • Check your car’s power steering fluid.

  • Check your car’s brake fluid.

  • Check your car’s windshield wiper fluid level and fill it to the proper level.

  • Check your car’s windshield wipers. Ensure that they are in proper working order.

  • Check your car’s tire pressure. Make sure they are inflated to the proper levels, indicated on the sticker on the inside of the driver’s side door jamb.

  • Check your tires for signs of damage such as bulges.

  • Check your car’s fuses.

  • Make sure your car’s horn works.

  • Make sure both your high and low beam headlights are working.

  • Make sure your taillights are lighting up properly.

  • Put a garbage bag in the car. This will collect all of the trash that you and your passengers accumulate from eating and drinking in the car during your road trip.

  • Check your car’s spare tire. Make sure it is properly inflated and ready to use, if necessary. Also make sure your car’s jack and tire iron are present.

  • Check your car’s air conditioning/heat cables to make sure they are tight.

  • Buy an extra set of car belts. Keep them in the trunk in case they are needed during your trip.

  • Don’t strap luggage to the top of your vehicle. If possible, keep all luggage in the trunk and interior of the vehicle, as heavy items on top of your car will slow you down, causing your vehicle to use more gas. If you must strap luggage to the vehicle’s top, use strong ties and cover them.

  • Put a fire extinguisher in the trunk. In case of emergency, this might come in handy.

  • Keep an emergency kit in your car’s trunk. This should include a first-aid kit, blanket, flashlight and batteries, screw drivers, wrenches, pliers, bungee cords, and non-perishable food and water.

  • Make sure your car’s sun protectors work. This includes the visors for the front windshield and side windows.

  • Keep a plastic funnel and bucket in your trunk. This can come in handy if you need to fill your coolant in an emergency.

  • Pack all of the cables you will need. This includes jumper cables, car chargers for your phone and any other electronics chargers you and your passengers will need.

With the right preparation, you and your vehicle will be ready to enjoy road trips this summer!