Road Trip Preparedness: A Car Care Checklist

In 2024, 92% of Americans plan to travel at least as much as they did in 2023. 34% of travelers expect to take a road trip. If you’re among them, then you’ve likely mapped out your route, booked your Airbnb in advance, and packed your luggage, but what about getting your car ready? If your plans include driving in traffic, then your car needs a little TLC first.

Road trip preparation is nothing to take lightly, since driving long distances presents its own special challenges. A car maintenance checklist of things to take care of before you depart can help make your great American road trip go off without a hitch.

Battery Check

Don’t get caught out on the road with a dead battery. The connections on your battery should be tight and clean. The trusted technicians at Caliber Auto Care can perform a battery check to make sure that it’s charging properly and ready for you to hit the road.

Wiper Blades and Fluid Check

Check your car’s wiper blades, and refill the wiper fluid if needed. Visibility on the road is crucial to your family’s safety, especially when driving with potential seasonal elements like dust, bugs, snow and rain to contend with. Replace any worn wiper blades, and replenish your vehicle’s windshield washer fluid before you head out.

Top Off All Fluids

Power steering, transmission, coolant, brake and engine oil are all important for the reliable operation of your vehicle. Topping off all fluids prior to blazing a trail to your vacation destination is recommended.

Repair Chipped/Cracked Windows

Get any chipped/cracked windows repaired. Chipped or cracked windows can worsen as time goes by. Don’t risk a small crack becoming a large break that can impact your safety on the road or mess up your itinerary. For your convenience, Caliber Auto Glass provides free online estimates and can quickly schedule your auto glass repair, replacement and calibration services so you can leave on your trip with peace of mind.

Brake Check

Listen to your brakes, as they are vital to your family’s safety on your trip. A great way to test your brakes is to listen for any odd sounds or feeling for any sort of vibration when you hit your brake pedal. If you hear any grinding or screeching, then have Caliber Auto Care check your braking system to ensure that your brake pads, brake shoes, drums and rotors are in good shape and there are no brake fluid leaks.

AC Check

Make sure your air conditioning is up to par. Staying comfortable and cool no matter how hot it gets is important to your family’s overall enjoyment of your trip. If your car’s AC doesn’t seem to be cooling like it should, ask the Caliber Auto Care techs to take a look.

Tire Check

Your tires have a big job getting you from point A to point B and all those little points in between. Make sure that you inspect all four of your tires, and be certain that your spare tire is present and in good shape. Look for any bulges in the sidewalls of your tires, and keep an eye out for gouges, nails or cuts. Check tire tread depth with a penny. Abe Lincoln’s head should disappear between the treads on your tire. If it doesn’t, think about putting some new tires on your vehicle before you hit the road.

Tire pressure is also another important check, but be sure to test it when your tires are cool. Always defer to your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to proper tire inflation. You should be able to find this information on the inside of your driver’s side door jamb or in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

Roadside Emergency Kit Check

Before heading out for fun on the road, replenish your roadside emergency kit. AAA says that basic items come in handy if you have a breakdown on the roadway. Be sure that your roadside emergency kit is stocked and ready for any possibility with items such as first aid supplies, batteries, a flashlight, booster cables, basic tools, gloves, emergency flares, and drinking water.

Once you’ve ticked all the boxes on this car care checklist before your road trip, you can feel confident that it’s happy trails ahead. And, to make your life easier, Caliber Auto Care can perform a complimentary car check for you. Our experts will check oil levels, tire pressure, tire integrity and more to ensure your car is working properly so you can focus on the journey ahead.

Updated March 2024

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