Having troubles with your vehicle is always a rather annoying experience, especially if these troubles appear midway through a long road trip with your friends and/or family. Going on long road trips is a perfect test that can help you figure out the condition your car is in. However, our policy is the following – it is better to be safe than sorry and to properly prepare your car for road trip endeavors that lay ahead.

This inevitably incorporates making sure both your vehicle and its engine are in perfect condition prior to the actual trip.

Simply put, vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, and taking a chance with the condition of your car is never a good recipe for a relaxing road trip. This is exactly why we decided to provide you with our ultimate car checklist before road trip guide that can help you keep all the potential car troubles at bay the next time you go for a long drive.

Engine, Steering, and Brakes Related Tips:

  • Check oil and filters and change them if you haven’t in a while
  • Check spark plugs and put in new ones if needed
  • Check air filter and change if necessary
  • Bring an extra set of engine belts
  • Make sure power steering is working properly
  • Make sure brake fluid doesn’t need changing  

Car Electrics:

  • Be sure all the fuses are in good condition
  • Check if the horn works
  • Check if high and low beam headlights are functional
  • Check if the heater and AC are working fine (change the AC fluid if necessary)

Car Emergency-Survival Kit Tips:

  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is packed
  • Make sure you have a towing rope/chain
  • Bring electric charger wire
  • Bring a proper flashlight (check the batteries in it)
  • Pack handy tools like wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, hammer

Tires Related Tips:

  • Check the overall condition of your tires
  • Make sure the tire treads are of an appropriate depth
  • Check for potentially hazardous bulges and strains
  • Make sure tire pressure is optimal
  • Bring a spare tire
  • Pack tire chains if going skiing
  • Bring tire iron and jack
checking air pressure in the wheel

Other Useful Tips:

  • Clean your vehicle prior to the trip – both inside and out
  • Pack garbage bags and keep them in your car
  • Make sure you have a handy funnel for potential water/oil/fluid emergencies
  • Bring a cloth or small towel for the windshield, side windows, and potential spills inside your vehicle
  • Bring your spare car keys
  • Install sun protectors for side windows
  • Bring sun protector for windshield when your car is parked
  • Pack various audio CDs or mp3 music (especially if the trip is extra long)
  • Fill your tank up before the fuel warning lights up
  • Bring your owner’s manual just in case
  • Check your wipers and fill your wiper fluid reservoir
  • Drain the radiator, especially if you haven’t drained it in a while

Safe Driving Tips

Now that your vehicle is ready for the road trip, it is time to tackle some of the most pertinent tips for safe and effective driving:

  • Plan your driving hours according to your limits. This typically includes when during the day (or night) you will be driving, and for how many miles in one day.  
  • Don’t test the speed cameras and drive in accordance to speed limitations at all times. Drive steadily and enjoy the view. You will also save a lot of money on gas in the long run, so it’s a win-win!
  • Make frequent rests. Don’t fill up on coffee and energy drinks whenever you feel tired. Instead, pull over and rest for about half an hour. Take a nap even.
  • Obviate boredom anyway you can. Whenever you feel bored during long drives, be sure to initiate a car game with your passengers, listen to your favorite band, or listen to some audiobooks.
  • And last, but not least – have fun!

This was Phoenix Towing Service road trip checklist to help you prepare and know all the things to do on a long car ride AND before a long car drive. Did we forget to mention some of the vital ones? Feel free to leave a comment below.