No matter the destination, a lot goes into planning a long road trip to ensure everything goes according to plan. Preparing your vehicle for the open road has many benefits, ensuring a safe trip. It’s always good practice to inspect your vehicle beforehand, making it more likely to avoid car issues throughout your trip.

Essential Car Maintenance Checklist Before a Road Trip

Scheduling car maintenance before a long road trip ensures the vehicle is trip-ready. After all, no one ever plans to have their travel plans halted by a stalled or broken-down car on the side of the road. Car problems such as a flat tire, overheating engine or lack of emergency kit can dampen even the best long-distance adventure.

Today, we discuss a five-step road trip checklist that should give you peace of mind, knowing your vehicle will be in excellent condition to handle long distances.

Check and Replenish Fluids

It’s always essential to check the car’s many fluids before kicking the road. Car fluids may include engine oil, power steering fluids, transmission fluids and windshield washer fluids. Car owners must also check the engine coolant (antifreeze) levels to confirm they’re filled to the manufacturer’s recommended level.

Examine the Brake Pads

It’s vital to check the car’s brake system before starting the road trip. Squealing noises coming from the brakes could indicate worn out brake pads. If the brake pedal feels spongy when pressed, it could indicate low brake fluid. Always double-check the car’s brake system to avoid unnecessary hazards on the road.

Test the Battery

Another critical maintenance checklist is the car’s battery. You must ensure its connections are tight and corrosion-free. We recommend disconnecting the battery and cleaning it with a wire brush to remove any corrosion on the connectors.

A damaged car battery could significantly impact the proper functioning of other electrical systems, including air conditioning, turn signals, brake lights and taillights.

Check the Tires

The wrong tire inflation could impact the car’s gas mileage significantly. Therefore, ensure you check the tire pressure of all the tires, including the spare tire. We also recommend checking the tire tread for signs of wear and tear.

Worn-out tire treads may need tire rotation or alignment before the trip. The TreadNation program offers free tire rotation, allows clients to buy tires at cost and even tire storage. It’s the perfect place to get great tire tips for long-distance trips.

Inspect Belts and Hoses

Always check the engine belts and hoses to keep the car’s power steering, cooling and electrical systems functioning properly. It’s always good practice to check the owner’s manual for the recommended belt and hose service times, as some vehicles may require replacement after 60,000 miles.

Schedule a Car Maintenance Service Before Your Next Road Trip

This road trip checklist should ensure your car is in good working order for your next road trip. Remember, you can always consult a professional mechanic for a more comprehensive inspection process.

Contact us to learn more about our essential car maintenance tips. We’d love to work with you.