Road Trip Maintenance Tips

Road Trip Maintenance Tips

Make sure your road trip is not a disaster with these handy pre-road trip maintenance tips.

Road Trip Maintenance Tips

Pre Road Trip Car Maintenance Tips

Getting ready for a road trip? Here are some car maintenance tips you need to get your car road ready inside and out. For a quick road trip checklist, you’ll want to check under the hood, perform a safety inspection, make sure everything is working inside, and put together a travel supply kit.

Under the Hood of Your Car

Do a thorough visual inspection.

Look for obvious signs of fluid leaks including puddles on the ground under your car and liquid dripping from anywhere. Also look for condensation on hoses and around clamps and fittings. Check for worn or cracked belts and hoses as well as loose or broken fittings. Replace any damaged parts before you hit the road.

Check the following fluid levels before you start your trip.
• Antifreeze or coolant
• Brake fluid
• Engine oil
• Power steering fluid
• Transmission fluid
• Windshield washer fluid

For very long trips you’ll also want to check and top off these fluids during your drive. And, make sure to check them before you start your return trip.

Exterior Car Safety Check

Perform a routine safety check.

Make sure your horn and anti-theft system are working properly.

Have another person help you check all your lights including, daytime running lights, high and low beams, brake and parking lights, turn signals, and emergency flashers.

Check your tire pressure and tread level.

Check that your front and rear windshield wipers are working properly. Make sure that all speeds and intermittent levels work. You’ve already checked the washer fluid level, so now it’s time to make sure that car sprays enough wiper fluid. Make sure that the blades clean the windshield and remove debris. If the wiper is dragging or squealing, consider replacing the wiper blades. If the wiper arm is sluggish or gets stuck, or if the wiper fluid does not spay, have your car checked by a mechanic.

Vehicle Interior Comfort and Convenience

Check driver assistance and passenger comfort features.

If you’re traveling during the winter, make sure the heat is working. Alternately, for summer travel, make sure the air conditioning is in good working order.

Check all your dashboard display features, even the ones you don’t use regularly. If any part of your display is not working, you may need to check and replace some of the fuses and bulbs.

Check the cabin interior lighting to make sure that all the bulbs are working.

Make sure your radio and audio system are working properly. If you have an in-car navigation system, test it before you go on your trip to make sure it’s working correctly.
Be sure that all outlets are working, such as aux, USB and other entertainment connectivity. That way your passengers can use their devices for entertainment without disturbing the driver.

Check your power locks, windows, and seats. This is both for safety and comfort for all drivers as well as passengers.

Road Trip Checklist

Here’s a list of car supplies to take with you on every road trip, short or long.

1. Owner’s manual. Put your original owner’s manual in the glove compartment before you go on your trip. Alternately, download a copy from the manufacturer’s website or bookmark the pages that tell you how to maintain your car, use important features, and access warranty service if you need it while you’re on the road.
2. Spare tire and changing kit. Make sure that you can locate your spare tire and have a jack and tire iron. Your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website will tell you how to change your tire. If your vehicle comes with a donut spare, it’s a good idea to get a full-size spare before you go on your trip.
3. Spare key or key fob. If you lose or damage your key or fob, having a spare means you won’t have to spend time and money on a locksmith or trying to find a dealership to program a replacement key. Plus, you’ll be too far from home to have someone bring it to you, so take your spare key along for the ride.
4. Lock de-ice or moisture displacement lubricant. This is especially needful during winter roadtrips. You’ll want to be able to unfreeze your doors, windows, and locks quickly, so you can get on with your trip activities.
5. Roadside assistance. It’s worth it to get a subscription to your car’s premium features so you don’t have to spend hours trying to find food, rest areas, traffic, and weather reports. And if your car breaks down, you can make one call and get help right away.
6. Flares. Take a flare kit in case you need to stop on a dark road in unfamiliar territory. Plus, if your car battery dies, you’ll need the flares to use as your emergency lights.
7. Blanket or rugs. Take along some throw rugs or mats just in case you must change a tire.

DIY Pre-Trip Car Maintenance vs Auto Repair Shop

Go to an auto service center if it’s close to time for regular maintenance items such as tune up, oil and filter change, brake service, transmission flush, tire rotation, and balance or wheel alignment. If you’re having any problems with fuel economy, emissions, or dashboard warning lights, you’ll need to have your car inspected at an auto repair shop before you take it on a long roadtrip. While your check engine light could be something as simple as tightening your gas cap or buying a new one at an auto parts store, it could also mean that you need to replace a mass airflow MAF or O2 sensor before you hit the road. A battery light could mean you need to address an issue with the alternator or replace a worn or broken alternator belt to make sure your car doesn’t stop in mid-trip.

In conclusion, make sure that your car is mechanically and operationally safe. Check your fluids and make sure that the mechanical parts are in good working order. Make sure that the exterior components are working and road safe. Make sure that inside your car is ready for a long drive and long trip with passengers. Finally, take along some extra supplies just in case.

You can do most of your pre-road trip car maintenance yourself with the right parts and supplies. Contact us or stop in, and we’ll help you to get the parts and supplies you need to get your car road trip ready.

Download our Checklist Here – Road Trip Checklist