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Quick Prep Tips for a Road Trip

Going on a road trip? Make sure your car is in tip top shape before you pack your bags for a long drive! While you can always drive to your local mechanic for a quick check, you can prep your car on your own without spending a single cent. Best of all, prepping your car won’t take the whole day so unless your car is in bad shape, go prep your car for a long drive on your own. Here’s how:


Start by checking the tires because these will take the brunt of the entire drive. Give the tires a thorough visual check, paying close attention to the state of the treads. Use the penny test to see if the tires require replacing soon. Next, check the air pressure because the pressure will affect your car’s performance and mileage. Follow the manufacturer’s recommended air capacity and watch out for leaks. Finally, make sure your spare tire is in good condition. Again, check the air pressure, paying close attention to the state of the treads.

Cooling System

Check under the hood and visually inspect the engine to see if the cooling system is in good condition. Start by checking the radiator fluid and the reserve tank if it needs to be topped off. If it does, mix antifreeze with water and pour the solution.

Now check the radiator hose for cracks, inspecting if they are attached securely. Give your belts a check too and replace them if they are badly damaged. Depending on your car care skills, you can change the belt in less than an hour. If you cannot replace the belts on your own, let a professional handle it for you.


An oil change is a must especially if you’re about to go on a cross-country trip. Changing your oil takes only an hour and there’s nothing to it. But for the uninitiated, we recommend hitting the service station for an oil change.

We’d also recommend bringing several extra quarts of engine oil with you during the long drive. Additionally, you want to keep an eye on your pressure oil gauge just to ensure that the engine oil is at the right level.

Transmission Fluid

The automatic transmissions’ do not require extensive maintenance but you need to check if the fluid levels especially if you use your car often. Check if the fluid is low or if hasn’t been changed at all. Drain, flush and replace the transmissions fluid when the level is low. Replacing transmission fluid takes longer than an oil change and we’d recommend having a professional do this for you.


There’s no way you’re going on a road trip with bad brakes. Check if your brake pads need replacing or if the rotors are in working order. Bad brakes require extensive repairs and getting it done may mean delaying the trip so do this a few days before the actual trip.

Air Filter

Air filters are surprisingly easy to replace. Ideally, you need to replace your air filter once every 12 months. If you live somewhere dusty, you’ll replace the filter more often than once every year. Changing the air filter is easy, just pop the lid, open the air filter box, remove the old filter and install the new one, easy peasy.

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