Checklist: Getting Your Car Ready for a Long Road Trip

Published: November 17, 2014 | Updated: July 23, 2021 | Posted by: Moneymax | Car Insurance

Checklist: Getting Your Car Ready for a Long Road Trip

Toward the end of the year, a lot of people take the time to travel to their hometowns to visit parents or relatives who live across the country. If you’re thinking of doing the same, you may consider driving instead of shelling out a lot of money to pay for flight tickets for the whole family. And road trips can be a lot of fun, whatever your reason for going: holidays, special occasions, a relative’s birthday, and a well-deserved vacation, among other things.

Read more: The Ultimate Travel Checklist: What to Pack for Your Next Trip

One of the worst things that happen during a road trip is for your car to break down on a busy highway. Having to need repair your car on your road trip isn’t just a hassle, it’s also bound to create a big dent on your wallet. Don’t let a car problem ruin your road trip! Get your car prepped and ready before you take a long road trip.

Here’s a quick checklist of the things you need to do before you hit the road:
1. Check your tires if they have the proper air pressure, and if the treads haven’t worn out. Be careful of rough roads. They can puncture your tires.

2. Check your fluids. Old coolant fluid can be corrosive, and will be harmful to your car. Flush out the old fluid and replace with fresh fluids. Don’t forget about your brake fluids, engine oil, transmission fluids, etc. Top off fluids that are low, so you won’t have to stop on a roadside to fill them up again.

3. Make sure your battery is connected properly. Check, too, if your battery still has juice: if not, it’s time to replace it. Also do a routine inspection on your alternator and starter. If not, you might not even get to begin your road trip.

4. Test all your lights to see if they’re working. Chances are, you might need to drive at night, so a working headlight is necessary on your travels. Don’t forget your tail lights and blinkers as well. Replace any non-working bulbs as soon as you can.

5. Make sure that when you hit the brakes, your car stops.

6. Clean your car, inside and out. No one wants to sit inside a car that smells old and stale for a car ride that will last for hours. Clean your windows and your windshield so you can enjoy a great view of the countryside you’ll be passing by! And to make sure your windshield stays clean, double check if your wipers are well functioning.

7. Check your belts and hoses to make sure your engine will run smoothly. Replace them if they’re loose or are showing signs of wear and tear.

8. Give your car a much-needed tune-up. This will help ensure that your filters, suspension, exhaust, and mufflers are in check, and won’t be an inconvenience during your road trip.

9. Make sure your air conditioning and car heater is working. You won’t want to drive on a hot day with a broken AC.

10. Lastly, be prepared for the worst! Prepare a car emergency kit that includes your car warranty, comprehensive car insurance policy, and important contact numbers such as roadside assistance, the hospital, police, and emergency contacts. Don’t forget an emergency car repair kit, and a first aid kit as well.

Don’t get caught unprepared! Make sure you do a routine inspection and regular maintenance of your car to avoid inconveniences and sudden expenses!

Got any other tips to add? Tell us in the comments!

Road Trip Checklist:

☐Coolant/ radiator fluid
☐Engine oil
☐Brake fluid

☐Tail lights
☐Head lights
☐Turning signals
☐Brake lights

☐Tire pressure
☐Tire treads


☐Windshield wipers
☐Air conditioner
☐Car heater
☐Belts & hoses


Car emergency kit
☐Car documents: warranty, insurance, contact information
☐Pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers
☐Road flare
☐Emergency triangles
☐First aid kit
☐Flashlight & batteries
☐Electrical and duct tape
☐Spare tire
☐Spare car battery
☐Extra fluids for your car
☐Clean rags/ cheesecloth

You can also download the checklist HERE