Car checklist before your first road trip

Going on long road trips can be stressing, but the feeling is even more severe for those who never had a similar experience in the past. The whole US highway-driving experience is truly unique, but to really enjoy it, you have a couple of things to tackle. Preparation is the key, so here’s what you have to take care of before your first one.


As soon as you start thinking of a road trip, you have to schedule a maintenance check-up. This should include at least an oil change and a fluid check. You can take this maintenance check-up up a notch and go for the full treatment: serpentine belt replacement, coolant flush, windshield wipers replacement and some fine tune-ups.

Emergency kit

Even if you don’t plan to go on a long road trip, you should always ensure you have an emergency kit present in your vehicle. To make sure you’re prepared for everything and anything, you must have some first-aid materials, a flashlight, jumper cables and some tools. Although you think such events are very unlikely to occur, you have to be prepared in the event of any unpleasant occurrence when on the road. Better safe than sorry.

Check your battery

We know your trust your car battery, but if you haven’t checked it in a while, right before your first road trip would be a good time to do it. If you’ve previously had issues starting your vehicle, you may need to replace it. And if the car shop expert tells you there’s nothing wrong with your battery, have them take a look at your battery terminals too. They should be squeaky clean, before going on a long road trip.

Invest in load-carrying equipment, for extra safety

You’ll need a lot of supplies, and you will probably have your car loaded for a long road trip. So, before starting your journey, specialists recommend taking a good look at your vehicle’s load recommendations. Even if your load doesn’t exceed those, it would be ideal to invest in some extra load carrying equipment. It will come in handy, and you can have your peace of mind that your load will never exceed the recommendations. This will help you avoid a breakdown while on your journey.

Check your tires

Long road trips will take a toll on your car’s tires, so make sure they are in good condition before you start on the road. Check and see if the thread is enough and see if the tire wall is damaged in any way. Besides, you want to make sure the air pressure in your tire is optimal. You could invest in a smart gadget that lets you check air pressure when on the road, if you want to take some extra precautions.

All electricals should function smoothly

All electricals and lights on your vehicle should function smoothly. Because of this reason, you want to take your car to a shop and see if all stop lights, brake lights, and blinkers work. All other electrical components should be running as well, from windshield wipers to power locks and horn, and power windows.

Check your brakes

Depending on how recently you have checked your breaks, you want to have a professional look at them before you go on your first road trip. A good sign that you must replace your breaks or at least have someone look at them is a squeaky sound. If they have it, go check them. The pads should have a quarter of an inch of pad or more.

Your AC system should be flawless, for extra comfort

Especially if you travel in the summer, you want to have a perfectly running AC system. This will make the entire ride more comfortable and you avoid having a mental breakdown right in the middle of your road trip. If you feel like the AC system isn’t working properly have a technician take a quick look at it.

Always make sure you have a spare tire and jack

A flat tire is always bad news, no matter you’re only 30 minutes away from home or 500 miles. And to make sure you’re always ready to fix such unpleasant events, you have to check your spare tire. The only worse thing than a flat tire is a flat spare. Before you go on the road, make sure your space is inflated and hole-free. Take a jack with you too. It will make a world’s difference.

Have a roadside assistance number saved to your smartphone

We know you don’t want to think of unfortunate scenarios, but they are likely to occur, no matter how well you prepare for your first road trip. With that in mind, make sure you join a roadside assistance program or that you save a specialised company’s number in your phone. Make sure your insurance is updated and valid, and you’ll be fine.

Engine oil

Your car’s engine is the most important part of your vehicle, so you have to take good care of it. And just before you leave for your road trip, you want to make sure you check your engine oil levels. Also, take a look at the date when your oil change is due. Sometimes, it’s a good idea to change your engine oil regardless of the due date in your user manual. During long drives, the miles will accumulate and you want to make sure no unpleasant surprises will ever occur. Change your regular oil with synthetic motor oil, if you plan to travel long distances. This will give you the extra protection you need while on the road.

Follow these guidelines and make sure you protect you and your family or friends from all the hassle of a long road trip. Instead of worrying about the state of your car, have fun, enjoy the ride, and know for sure that you’re protected from a ton of unexpected events.

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