How to Prepare Your Car For A Long Road Trip

You’re planning a long trip? Well, such a long trip, all the way from your hometown [or wherever] is a serious test for your car and even a small problem such as a dysfunctional headlight, out-of-balance tyre can cause a lot of troubles. Before you do so, you should check your car to make sure that it is in good condition and running well. This will help you to drive safe and avoid any breakdowns or mechanical issues. Then you’ll relax as you drive and even enjoy the journey. Well, here are a few tips for you;

First and foremost clear out trash or unnecessary “junk” from your car. Nothing spoils a road trip like the smell of stale food that fell under the seat.

Check The Fluids In Your Car

Checking the oil, coolant, brake fluid and windscreen wash levels may help you avoid an accident or an unnecessary breakdown.

A long trip can put additional stress on car. Therefore don’t think that adding extra oil by yourself will work like an oil change, because that does not get rid of the sludge from old used oil. You may not realize this due to the fact that you’re continuously adding new cleaner oil which makes it appear as if it’s clean oil. When changing your car’s oil you must always replace the oil filter at the same time.

Check The Automatic Transmission Fluid

A long trip with a full load will be another ordeal for your automatic transmission. If your transmission fluid change is due soon, do it before a trip.

If your car has a transmission dipstick, start by warming the car up. Place the car on a level surface. Set the hand brake. With the transmission in “Park” position and the engine idling, pull the automatic transmission fluid dipstick, wipe it off with a cloth and insert it back fully. Pull it out again and check the fluid level and condition. A conventional transmission fluid has a red, pinkish-red or brownish. If the transmission fluid appears too dark, it’s better to change it.

Check Engine Coolant In The Overflow Tank

The level should be between “Low” and “Full” marks. If the coolant level is just a bit low, you can top it up using recommended type of coolant mixed with water. Any leaks should be fixed before a trip, as lack of coolant on the road may cause the engine to overheat which may result in serious damage.

Check Your Car’s Air Filter

If it’s been a long time since you changed your air filter, it might be a good idea to change it before a trip. A dirty air filter will cause lack of power.

A plentiful supply of clean air to your engine improves the vehicles performance and efficiency.

Check Your Air Pressure

The pressure must not be too little nor should it exceeded the maximum recommended for the tyre. Also, don’t forget to check your spare tyre pressure. Often neglected, not doing so will turn a bad time into a worse one if the spare is unusable.

Check your tyre wear because tyres heat up on long trips which can cause blowouts on worn out tires. Consider replacing your tyres for very long journeys as they will wear down more quickly.

Check To Be Certain That All Lights And Signals Are Functional On Your Car

Replace bulbs as necessary. Also consider carrying spare bulbs on a road trip – at least one for each light e.g. headlights, indicators, tail lights, reverse lights.


Check the battery condition visually. If you see any acid leaks, cracks or other damage, the battery must be replaced.

Make sure the battery terminals are tight and not corroded. Corroded terminals will cause troubles.

Unfortunately, there is no way to tell when the battery will die; sometimes it happens unexpectedly although usually a new battery may last from 3 to 6 years, so if your battery is 4-5 year old, it’s a good idea to have it tested before a trip.

Wash Your Car

At the minimum, clean the windows of your car for the best visibility. Also check the condition of your wiper blades and replace them if necessary.

Ensure that you have all emergency equipment inside your car, and that everything works properly. Emergency equipment includes; a cell phone, spare tire (alternatively a puncture repair kit) and emergency tools (e.g. flashlight, screwdrivers, pliers and an adjustable spanner). Although usually absent, flares, medical kits and fire extinguishers may come in handy in worse-case scenarios.

With proper preparation before a trip, and a good attitude during a journey, you can make sure you not only survive a long trip – but also enjoy it.

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