How To Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

February 28, 2024


Road Trip Checklist

With summer close at hand and the roads prime for roaming, it’s the perfect time to plan a road trip that takes you, your family, and your friends to that destination you’ve had your eye on for quite a while now. Whether you’re ready to head out on the perfect road trip or you prefer a shorter, more direct drive, you need to make sure your car is in top shape before you head out if you want the entire experience to run as smoothly as possible. After all, how can you have a road trip without a working car? Fortunately for those born travelers out there who may not exactly be at-home mechanics, there’s a simple check-list for ensuring your car is up to speed and ready for the challenges of the long-haul road trip on your horizon:

Prepare for Flats

Be sure to load up your car with all the necessities you’ll need in the event of a flat tire: a spare, a jack, tire winch, and a tire gauge. Stock up before you leave and ensure your spare is in good working order.

Look for Coolant Leaks

Coolant is what keeps your car from overheating on long journeys like the one you’re planning. Check your engine for coolant leaks before you leave to avoid overheating on the road. Some common signs to keep an eye out for include:

  • The overbearing, sweet smell when the engine is warm
  • Engine running hot
  • Green or yellow streaks on your engine oil dipstick

Check Your Tire Tread and Pressure

Just because your old tires are good enough to get you around town, that doesn’t mean they’re going to perform on long drives. Ensure each tire has proper tread and air pressure. If your trip is taking you to some snowy areas, you may want to consider purchasing winter tires as well.

Assess Your Exterior Lights

In order to remain road-legal and safe, you’ll need to have working headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and reverse lights during your road trip. Check your lights and replace any bulbs. If you’re dealing with heavy oxidation on the housing, take your car to a repair shop for a high-shine headlight polish.

Belts and Hoses

Though they are often overlooked during regular maintenance, timing belts, hoses, and other belts play a huge part in keeping your engine cool and running. Replacing any belts that aren’t in pristine shape is always advisable before a long trip.

Get Your Oil Changed

Even if you’re not quite due for an oil change, take your car in for this service before heading out. During the process, technicians will also check your transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and coolant levels to ensure your vehicle will be running optimally throughout the trip.

Take Care of Your Windshield

Replace your wiper blades before heading out to ensure you have an unobstructed view of the road in all conditions. While replacing your blades, take time to thoroughly clean your windshield (both inside and out) as well.

Have Your Battery Evaluated

Have a technician assess your battery’s power before the big trip. If necessary, buy a new battery and have it installed. It’s an extra expense, but it ensures you’re not going to be stuck on the side of the road due to battery failure mid-trip.

Get Your Brakes Checked

Take your car into your mechanic to get your brake system checked. Replace the pads and anything else that needs updating.

Switch Out Your Cabin Air Filter

Get clean, cool air while you’re on the road by changing out that old, clogged cabin air filter for a new one. This also makes defogging windows easier when necessary by offering less restricted airflow inside the cabin.

Get Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready with Paddock Imports in Denver Today!

Get your car ready for your upcoming trip by visiting Paddock Imports, a company with 30 years of import car care, which services Mini Cooper, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, and more import car repairs in Denver. Contact Paddock Imports to make an appointment and get your car road trip ready in no time.