Car Maintenance Checklist Before You Go on a Long Road Trip

couple out on a drive

Going on a long road trip can be very fun, but it’s essential to make sure your car is in good condition before hitting the open road. This should ensure a hassle-free trip while also putting your safety at the forefront. Here is a checklist of things to check on your car before you go:

1. Tires

Make sure your tires are properly inflated and in good condition. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Check for cracks, bubbles, or other signs of wear that indicate your tires are in poor condition. If you’re not sure, you can always take your car to a mechanic to get their opinion.

You should also bring a spare tire and a tire repair kit in case of emergency. This should help you repair a flat tire or replace a blown-out tire so you can get to the nearest service station.

2. Engine oil

Before going on a long road trip, it’s important to check your engine oil level and quality. If your oil is low, top it off so your engine will run smoothly. You should also check the color of your oil. If it’s dark or dirty, it could indicate that your engine requires a change. Get this done before you go on your trip so you don’t have any unexpected issues while traveling.

3. Windshield and windows

Make sure your windshield is clean and free of cracks. You’ll also want to wash the inside of your windows to keep them clear while driving. Replace your car windows and windshield if there are any cracks to avoid any accidents.

If it’s raining or snowing, you may also want to invest in some windshield wipers to help improve your visibility while on the road. Always be sure to keep an eye on the weather forecast before you leave to be prepared for any conditions.

4. Lights

It’s essential to check all the lights on your car, including the headlights and turn signals. If any of them are out, replace them before you leave. It would be best if you also cleaned the lenses to ensure they’re giving off the maximum amount of light. This will help you see better at night and help you avoid fees for having non-working lights.

Front view of a red sports car's right headlights and tires

5. Brakes

Before going on a long road trip, you should always check your brakes to ensure they’re in good condition. If they seem soft or if it sounds like you’re dragging your feet when you brake, it’s time to take your car in for a tune-up. Catching problems in your car’s brakes before they become worse can save your life and wallet.

6. Belts and hoses

Make sure all the belts and hoses on your car are in good condition before going on your trip. If any of them are cracked, frayed, or loose, you should get them replaced immediately. It doesn’t take long for a belt or hose to break while on the road, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. You can usually tell if they need to be replaced if they’re making noise when you drive.

7. Battery

If your car battery is more than three or four years old, it may be time to invest in a new one. You can usually tell if your battery is on its last legs if it won’t hold a charge for very long. While you can top off your battery with distilled water if necessary, you should get a new one if the problem persists.

8. Coolant

If your car has been sitting unused for a while, the coolant may have evaporated and left the engine vulnerable to damage. Before going on your road trip, top off your coolant level to ensure that your engine stays cool and doesn’t overheat. You should also check the condition of your coolant hoses to see if they need to be replaced.

9. Safety equipment

It’s important to bring along safety equipment like a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher when you go on a road trip. This equipment can help you deal with common injuries and emergencies while traveling. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you’re prepared before you leave.

These are just a few things you should check on your car before going on a long road trip. By doing a little maintenance, you can avoid any major problems and have a safe and enjoyable trip. Always be sure to keep safety in mind and plan ahead to arrive at your destination safely.​

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