The pre-road trip car checklist

As the weather warms up and schools close down, road trip season approaches. Summer brings with it those few months out of the year when families are able to pack up the car and hit the open road. Yet, before you and your loved ones make the journey to your favorite destination, you need to make sure your car is as prepared as you are. Take a look at the checklist below to ensure your vehicle is ready or your road trip.

Familiarize yourself with your vehicle
Taking the time to learn about your car can save you trouble and confusion down the road. If you are able to identify important features and know how to perform basic maintenance, you will be more prepared to handle a breakdown or other issues during your trip. You should also know what type of oil your car takes and on which terrain it drives best. This information will make your trip much less stressful.

Get a checkup 
Taking your car to a professional for a checkup is one of the best things you can do before going on a long journey. A mechanic's trained eye will be able to spot leaks, cracks and other issues that could cause problems on the road. At your checkup, be sure the mechanic checks the levels of all fluids, tests the breaks and examines the engine for any irregularities. He or she should also replace headlights and air filters as needed.

Getting an inspection by a professional will ensure your vehicle is safe for the road.Getting an inspection by a professional will ensure your vehicle is safe for the road.

Take a look at your tires 
Nobody wants a vacation spoiled by tire trouble. Before you begin your trip, examine all the tires on your car for signs of damage. If the treading is worn down or the rubber has begun to split, it is a smart idea to replace your tires before you begin your journey. You should also check the tire pressure and alignment. When your primary tires are set, inspect your spare. It should also be properly pressured and free of damage.

Pack an emergency kit 
Anything can happen on the open road. For this reason, an emergency kit is a vital part of preparing your car for a road trip. The Department of Motor Vehicles recommend that your kit include road flares, a tire jack, a first-aid kit, jumper cables, a blanket, a flashlight and bottled water. Click here for the full list. 

Consider GPS 
If your vehicle does not have built-in navigation capabilities, you should think about purchasing a GPS system. This ensures that, even if you have no cell phone service or map, you will be able to navigate your route with confidence. 

A road trip is a great way to spend the summer, but don't let car problems get in the way of a good time. By following the checklist above, you can help ensure that your vehicle is prepared for whatever journey lies ahead. 

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