Preparing Your Vehicle for a Road Trip

Preparing Your Vehicle for a Road Trip


Are you getting ready to hit the open road? Road trips are an amazing way to see the country and make memories with friends or family. But before you pack your bags and hit the gas, it is crucial to ensure your vehicle is road trip ready. A little preparation can go a long way in preventing breakdowns and other headaches along the journey.

Check Your Fluids and Battery

Let us start under the hood. You will want to check all your vehicle’s fluid levels, including engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant. Top off anything that’s low.

While you’re there, inspect the condition of belts and hoses. Cracked or frayed belts and hoses could leave you stranded. It is often cheaper to replace worn ones before your trip.

Do not overlook your battery either. A dead battery means your car isn’t going anywhere. Make sure it has enough juice by testing it with a voltmeter. If it’s running low, the experts at Clore Automotive say you may need a new battery or, at the very least, a 12-volt battery charger.

Tiresome Tires

Hitting the highway on bald tires is just asking for trouble. Inspect your tires closely for any cracks, bulges, or excessive wear. Check the tread depth too – the rule of thumb is to replace tires when the tread gets down to 2/32 of an inch.

While you’re at it, make sure you know how to change a flat tire. Pack the jack, lug wrench, spare tire, or tire repair kit where it’s easily accessible.

Don’t ‘Brake’ the Bank

Those brake pads and shoes are your vehicle’s most important safety feature. Have them inspected and replace them if they are getting too thin. Topping off the brake fluid is a must too.

You will also want to test the parking brake before your trip. An inoperative parking brake could be hazardous or even illegal in some areas.

Other Under-the-Hood Once-Over

While you have the hood up, check the air filter and replace it if it’s dirty. A clogged air filter robs your engine of power and fuel efficiency.

Now is also a good time to inspect spark plug wires for cracking or fraying and replace any faulty ones. Spark plugs themselves should be replaced periodically, too, based on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

Your windshield wipers work overtime on road trips. Replace any streaky or torn blades before you go. Don’t forget to top off the wiper fluid reservoir as well.

Lights, Controls & Comfort Systems

Ensure all the interior and exterior lights are operational, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, brake lights, etc. Replace any burned-out bulbs.

Test the horn, windshield wipers, defroster, heater, air conditioning and any other essential control systems, too. You will definitely want these working properly.

Clean & Caulk

Nothing kills a road trip vibe like a messy, disorganized car interior. Give the inside a thorough cleaning and remove any unnecessary clutter before you pack for your trip.

While you are cleaning, inspect the door, window, and windshield seals. Cracks or hardened seals should be re-caulked to prevent rain, dust, and wind noise from ruining your driving comfort.

Call for Backup

Joining an auto club or roadside assistance program is cheap insurance on long drives, particularly in remote areas. If you have concerns about cell coverage where you’ll be traveling, consider renting a satellite phone or personal locator beacon too.


With some simple maintenance and smart preparation, your ride will be ready to rack up those miles adventure-style. Regular checkups between trips are recommended to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.

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