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How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

If you are planning on taking a long road trip with your family, you will want to make sure that your car is safe to drive for long distances and will not break down. Here are some tips to help you prepare your car for a road trip:

Basic Vehicle Maintenance

These are things you can do yourself to maintain your vehicle. Check windshield wipers and fluids. Add fluids where needed. Purchase a new pair of wipers if necessary. Check the charge on the battery. This can be done at local auto parts stores. Make sure the battery has a strong charge and that the terminals are clean. You can clean the terminals with baking soda and water.

Check the tires for tears and bulges. Make sure they have enough tread, and that the tire pressure is correct. If the tires are in poor condition, you will need to buy a new set.

Schedule a Maintenance Checkup

Before embarking on a long road check, be sure to schedule a maintenance checkup with your mechanic. The maintenance service should include an oil change, tune-up, and brake inspection.

Packing the Car

Before packing the car, check the vehicle’s load capacity and make sure that you do not over-pack. The load capacity includes the weight of all passengers and cargo. Car-top carriers should only carry light, bulky items like blankets and pillows.

Include an emergency kit, which can be purchased at any auto parts store. Or, make your own by filling a small bag with first-aid kit, blanket, flashlight, flares, matches, and tools. In another bag, pack bottled water and snacks.


Using a GPS navigation system can help you on your road trip. Many new cars come equipped with navigation systems, and most smartphones have them as well. You can always buy a portable GPS navigation system if you don’t already have one built in to your phone and car.

It’s important to keep in mind that GPS systems can sometimes generate errors, so you need maps for your backup plan. Be sure to have at least one map of every state and country you will be passing through. This will keep you from getting lost if the GPS sends you the wrong way.

By taking the time to prepare your car before travel, you and your family are sure to enjoy a fun, safe trip!