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Preparing your Car for a Cross-Country Trip

Check these things before embarking on your next road trip!

Warmer weather means spring break and, soon enough, summer vacations will be here, too! This is the perfect time for many to plan a road trip. Hop in the car with family or friends and make for the beach for some sun, fun, and plenty of relaxation. However, you won’t have much fun if your car breaks down during your trip. Make sure you’re prepared by checking out all parts of your car and stocking up on anything you’ll need throughout the trip. Here are ten things to get you started on your road trip preparation!

Oil & Fluids

Making sure you’re up to date on your oil change is the first step, especially if you’re driving an older vehicle. Make sure the level is appropriate, and you bring more, just in case. However, don’t just check your oil. Be sure to check the levels of all fluids before leaving including transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant, etc.


This is one area you’ll want to pay close attention to before taking off on your road trip. Carefully inspect each tire for extreme tread wear, nails and punctures, and other blemishes that could put your trip at risk. If there’s any question, get them replaced or repaired before taking off. Don’t forget about Tire pressure, either. This could alert you to leaks and other issues, and properly inflated tires help gas mileage for your trip!

Lights & Signals

Make sure all your lights and signals are in working order before setting out. If you haven’t changed them in a while, do it before you go, or make sure to bring extra bulbs in case one needs to be switched out.

Windshield Wipers

While the rain could put a damper on your trip, insufficient windshield wipers would make it even worse. Weather is unpredictable, and you don’t want to put yourself or your passengers at risk because you were too lazy to check and change your wiper blades.

A/C & Heat

There aren’t many warning signs for failing comfort systems in your vehicle. However, an A/C recharge before traveling through hot summer temperatures will ensure your comfort throughout the trip.


Check your battery charge and terminals before leaving your home. An old battery may be risky to travel with, and corroded terminals may cause problems that can leave you stranded for hours. Check this out and make sure to replace yours if needed.

Connections, Hoses, & Belts

These things may take a seasoned mechanic to check out. However, if they find something wrong before you leave, you’ll be thankful you had them check it out. For example, a serpentine belt break will disable your power steering, air conditioning, and more.


Make sure you can stop, and that your brake pads and rotors aren’t worn. Driving on bad brakes is dangerous…don’t do it!

Check your Spare

Not every vehicle has a spare tire anymore. However, in lieu of a spare tire, many dealers provide tire patching products instead. Whether you have a spare or just a can of Fix-A-Flat, know your backup plan and make sure you know what you’re doing if a tire were to blow out!

Emergency Roadside Kit

Last but not least, you’ll want to be sure you have a roadside kit ready for any emergency. This could include extra oil, a funnel, Swiss Army Knife, properly sized spare tools, flares, flashlight, non-perishable food items, extra water, a blanket, first-aid kit, and more.