toy car on a road trip inspection checklist

Your Road Trip Inspection Checklist

Loading up the roof rack, stocking up on junk food, and jetting out with your buddies for a once-in-a-lifetime journey of epic proportions is certainly a recipe for fun and lifelong memories. But before you embark on what is sure to be a legendary trek with your friends, it’s best to make sure your vehicle is up to the task. You might have your collective hearts set out on 1,000 miles of highway, but if your vehicle isn’t being inspected and maintained regularly, you might be setting up camp a little closer to home than you’d like. Here’s a quick road trip inspection checklist:

Before You Hit The Road

Here are a few key areas to inspect before you and your crew hit the road. A few extra minutes of diligence ahead of time can save you from potentially being stranded in the middle of nowhere later on. So before you hit the road, make sure to…

Check your tires

Grab your tire gauge and double-check that your tires are properly inflated (the recommended PSI should be listed on the tire wall itself). Also, be on the lookout for certain tire warning signs including low tread (we recommend the penny test). If you notice anything out of the ordinary with your tires, or you find your vehicle pulling or shaking, it’s time to visit your preferred tire retailer for a fresh set.

Test your battery

If your starter sounds a bit sluggish or you find yourself crossing your fingers while turning the key, it’s time to get your battery checked (most service shops will offer this fast and inexpensive service). If your battery tests fine, it may just need a good cleaning before you hit the open road.

Top off fluids

It’s a good idea to make sure you’re not low on oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and coolant. Most places will top these off for you at no extra charge when you get your oil changed or have other maintenance problems looked at.

Check the oil

Pop the hood and give your oil levels a quick check before hitting the road for an extended trip. And if you’re due for an oil change, make sure to get that taken care of well ahead of your departure date.

Check or replace wiper blades

You don’t want to get caught in the rain (literally) without a fresh set of wiper blades. You should be able to tell visually if your blades are ready for replacing, but if not, squirt some wiper fluid on the windshield and run the wipers a few cycles. They should clear the window completely without streaks or squeaks.

Check air conditioner

Especially for a summer road trip, you’ll want your air conditioner working properly. If your vehicle is blowing cool air but not cold air, you might have an issue with your cooling fan or radiator or you may be due for a new air filter. Your preferred auto technician will be able to diagnose the issue and get your A/C cranking again.

Pack your emergency kit

Even the most meticulous maintenance checking can’t keep you protected from every potential roadside emergency. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you have a roadside emergency kit and that it is stocked with the major essentials including jumper cables, flairs, a quart of oil, first-aid kit, flashlight, basic tool kit, a tire inflator and sealant, ice scraper, and other key items (and make sure your cell phone is charged up at all times as well).

Conclusion

Regular vehicle maintenance is essential when it comes to keeping your car on the road for a long time. And giving your vehicle a thorough check prior to a long road trip can help you minimize the chance of car troubles when you’re hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. To make sure your car is equipped for the challenge that lies ahead, stop by Telle Tire and Auto for a maintenance check and let our expert team of technicians give you the green light for your next road trip.

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