Preparing your car for your next road trip doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. By planning ahead, you can make sure that it is done in plenty of time before you next adventure. Keeping a list and checking everything off will give you peace of mind knowing that your car is as safe as possible for your family vacation. In 2016, we did an East Coast road trip to look at colleges and visit Disney and Universal Studios. I did each one of the steps below, and it made it a fun and relaxing time. So how should you be preparing your car for your next road trip? Here is a list broken up over a 3 week period.
Preparing Your Car For Your Next Road Trip:
At least 3 weeks before:
- Take your car to your repair shop and have a trip check done. They will change your oil if it is needed, rotate your tires and check your air pressure, and check your hoses for leaks or tears. The $40 you spend on that could save you thousands later if something should go wrong on your trip. This is not a step that should be skipped on your road trip checklist. Our car dealership sends coupons out for routine maintenance, so I have no excuse not to get it done.
- Purchase a GPS if you don’t already have one. You may have taken the same trip every year, and know the route by heart. But what happens if you are detoured in an area you have no idea where you are at? That GPS can save you a lot of hassle. Make sure all the maps are updated as well.
One week before:
- Check to make sure you have an emergency road kit. Each kit will vary depending on your family size, vehicle storage, etc. Check out Edmunds.com for tips on creating your emergency road kit. Make sure you check your vehicle’s user manual to get the proper fluids for your make and model.
- Make sure your E-Z pass account is filled and your account information is up-to-date. It is no fun finding out that you have a violation because your account was empty or you forgot to add a vehicle to your account. By having it written down on your road trip checklist, it will be a situation that is easily avoided.
- Prepare a miscellaneous kit for your car. This includes things like paper towels, garbage bags for trash, water bottles, granola snacks, and blanket. We always have a blanket, even in the middle of summer, with us in the car. If there is an accident, the warmth from the blanket could keep you(or another person) from going into shock.
Two days before:
- Take your car for a “beauty treatment”. Give it a good wash, paying particular attention to the wheel wells. Make sure there are no loose twigs, rocks, or other foreign objects that may puncture the tires. Vacuum it out really well. You all benefit from this tip on your road trip checklist. A long car ride is no fun if you are stuck smelling something icky that was missed. The beauty treatment helps prevent that.
- If you have car seats or booster seats, make sure they are in proper working condition.By doing this a few days before your trip, you can avoid last minute problems. Check buckles, tethers, and any other securing mechanism. If any of them are not up to standards, then you need to head out and replace them before you think about heading out!
The night before:
- Check your tires one last time. I can’t stress that enough!
- If you don’t have an E-Z pass, put plenty of change in your car. Make sure you have a lot of quarters, dimes, and nickels. And one dollar bills are a must.
- Place a box of tissues and a small white garbage bag in the inside of your car. That tip is definitely self-explanatory.
- Make sure important information is in the glove compartment. This includes your registration and insurance information, your owner’s manual, and a large index card that has information about every passenger in the car. Full name, your home address, emergency contact information, and each person’s blood type. That information could save your life, so clip it together with your registration. Another item on your road trip checklist that should be a priority!
So I hope you found this information helpful. It should make preparing your car for your next road trip easier and less stressful.
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