How to Prep Your Car for Summer Road Trips

Everyone enjoys planning a summer getaway. The escape can take you anywhere from the Great Lakes to the Grand Canyon. You may even make your way west to the Pacific Coast or down south to the Gulf of Mexico.

No matter where your journey takes you, be sure to remember the all-important road trip car checklist. After all, the best vacations are the ones that start out with peace of mind. Plus, knowing how to prepare your car for a road trip can help keep everyone safe. Discover tips for prepping your car from Kennedy Transmission’s automotive experts below.

Your 7-Point Road Trip Checklist

1. Check and Top-Off Your Fluids

Whether you’ll be driving in-state or traveling cross-country, check your car’s engine oil and coolant before the road trip. Make sure the wiper fluid well is full too. If you’re not comfortable checking your transmission or brake and power steering fluids, let your local automotive pros take care of it.

2. Inspect Your Battery and Connections

Every road trip checklist should include a battery inspection. It’s a durable component, but terminals need to be cleaned, and cable connections have to be secure. Always keep jumper cables handy, just in case.

Got a car battery that’s more than 3 years old? Consider replacing it to minimize your chances of issues on the road.

3. Take a Look at Your Lights

Clean up dirty headlights and taillights, and confirm their condition. Make sure interior lights are working too. Ask someone to walk around the car as you test these important vehicle lights:

  • Turn signals
  • Brake lights
  • Backup lights
  • Sidelights
  • Fog lights
  • Hazard lights

4. Swap out Your Air Filter

A clean air filter helps the engine run better, and that improves mileage. If you plan on driving long distances, the air filter needs to be in top condition. Put a fresh cabin filter on your road trip car checklist too.

5. Inspect Your Tires

Confirm the condition of your tires and the spare. Use an upside-down quarter to measure tread depth. If you can see the top of Washington’s head on the coin, it’s time for new tires. Check each tire for signs of wear or damage.

Pro Tip: If braking produces odd sounds or vibrations, take the car to a service center right away.

6. Pack a Road Emergency Kit

While you prep the car, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Stock an emergency kit with first aid items and backup for any current medications. Keep an emergency tool box in the trunk, along with flashlights and reflectors or flares.

7. Make a Pit Stop at Kennedy Transmission

If you’re not sure about something, steer clear of road trip disasters by letting our trained auto repair and maintenance professionals handle it. From inspecting drive belts to solving water pump and radiator problems, we want to give you peace of mind.

Safeguard Your Trip with Auto Repair and Maintenance Experts

It’s not hard to figure out how to prepare your car for a road trip, but don’t take any chances. Let Kennedy Transmission’s professional staff top off those plans with expert car maintenance before your road trip. With seven service centers located throughout the Minnesota metro, Kennedy Transmission is always just around the corner. Contact our team to learn more about our service options today!

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