If you’ve been following me for a while (especially on instagram), you know I love to travel. That’s probably because I was raised by parents who loved to go on road trips. I learned a lot about vehicle safety from my dad who was always meticulous about inspecting his vehicle before a road trip.
I also married into a motor head family. So I called on all my resident experts to help me create the extensive Road Trip Safety Checklist.
The last thing you want on a road trip, is for your vehicle to be broken down on the side of the road chocked full of disgruntled familymembers…and that’s the best scenario when it comes to car trouble.
Avoid hazards and inconveniences by using the Road Trip Safety Checklist before heading out of Dodge.
If you’ve got a road trip on the horizon, read on to see how you can start preparing your vehicle now.
The checklist is intended to help you ensure your vehicle is safe and road trip ready. If you aren’t used to vehicle maintenance, this checklist could help you spot problems that are simple to fix, but could be disastrous if left unaddressed.
Tires: Check the air pressure of all vehicle tires. (The recommended air pressure for your vehicle is usually listed inside the driver’s side door and/or owner’s manual.) Also be sure to check the condition of the tires. It’s easy to have a nail or such stuck in your tire without even knowing. Have any such things removed and patched. Be sure your tires have sufficient tread. Don’t forget to check the spare tire for all of the above too. Don’t forget to check your spare tire.
Engine Fluids: Make sure your engine has sufficient levels of all its fluids including (but not limited to) oil, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, etc…If your vehicle will be due for an oil change soon, it’s good idea to get that taken care of before hitting the road. (Note: if you’re traveling somewhere cold, use wiper fluid that won’t freeze.)
Lights: Have a friend or family member help you check that all vehicle lights are functioning properly (brake, reverse, turn signals, brights, flashers etc…). Repair any bulbs or fuses that are out before hitting the road.
Windshield: If you’ve been ignoring that chip on the windshield, now is the time to get it filled before it turns into a worrisome crack on your vacation.
Wipers: Check the condition of the windshield wipers. Harsh temperatures can cause them to crack over time and become virtually useless when needed.
Belts/hoses: Get under the hood as best you can to look for cracks, drips, leaks and the like. Better yet, have a professional do the looking.
Maintenance: In addition to an oil change, check your vehicle maintenance records to see when it is due for its upcoming inspection. If the time is coming near, have the maintenance performed before a long road trip. Also take care of any warning indicator lights that have come on.
Documents: Check that the tags and registration are current on your vehicle as well as insurance coverage. Make sure you have all required documents in/on the vehicle, and don’t forget to keep your AAA or car insurance contact info handy.
Gas: Although, this might seem like a no brainer, I’ve traveled with people whose gas warning light came on 30 miles out of town, so this goes on the list.
Emergency kit: It’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies in your vehicle. This could include things such as jumper cables, car jack, flares, flashlight, first aid kit, water, blankets, toolkit,etc…Try to think ahead and have an emergency plan including phone numbers of friends, relatives, and/or towing companies that can help you out along your journey if needed. Also, be sure to communicate your travel plans to others.
Be sure to pin the image above so you’ll have it for later.
And to make your road trip even more successful, be sure you have planned in some ways to entertain the kids. For some ideas, you can check out my post on Entertaining Young Kids on Road Trips.
For your convenience, I’m including a PDF file of the checklist that you can download and print to make your vehicle inspection easier. Click the link to download this Vehicle Safety Checklist.