The least you need on your road trip is for something to go wrong with your car.
So here is the check list that make your drive is safe:
Road trip checklist
- Check the car owner’s manual
- Get any major repairs done
- Get any scheduled maintenance done
- Clean out your car: interior and exterior
- Check under the hood
- Check oil
- Check engine coolant
- Check car battery
- Check filters: air, oil and transmission fluid (and change it if needed)
- Check fuel pump
- Fill the gas tank
- Make sure you have some form of a map (GPS)
Walk-around inspection for a long trip
The simplest and cheapest way to check car for a long trip is the walk-around inspection. You should do it first by yourself:
- Check wiper blades for cracks or separation from the blade retainer. Check out all the lights in the car the turn signals, headlights and brake lights.
- Checking tires is important and you should check the tire pressure when the tires are cold. You can find the recommended tire pressure in the owners manual. Over-inflated tires would cause the tire to wear prematurely in the center. Driving in wet conditions (rain, snow etc) an over-inflated tire gives you less tread contact on the road, and under-inflation will result in bad handling and increased fuel consumption.
Under the hood inspection for a long trip
When you’re done with walk-around inspection of car, inspect under hood:
- Check fluid levels by lifting the hood and check: engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, radiator coolant, and windshield washer fluid levels – and top off if necessary.
- Inspect hoses for leaks, brittleness, loose clamps, and softness in the elbow areas.
- Check belts for alignment, glazing, adjustment, and tearing and cracking – and replace if necessary.
Other items to check under the hood
- Lights and mirrors
- Windshield wipers
- Steering, suspension and drive-train components
- Spare tire, wheel wrench and the jack
- Basic emergency kit