Car Maintenance Checklist for Road Trips

While there are safer, simpler and easier ways to travel, there is nothing that will let you get the lay of the land better than a road trip. Here, you get to make your own itinerary, improvise as you go and spend the entirety of the trip exactly as you like it. Aside from this, there is also something incredibly liberating about the idea of being behind the wheel the entire time, instead of allowing other people to take control of the commute.

However, in order to be able to fully relax and enjoy the trip, you need to be 100 percent sure that your safety isn’t endangered in any way. In order to pull this off, you need to start with a proper maintenance of the vehicle you intend to use for the trip. Here is a brief maintenance checklist that will help you get through this as quickly as possible.

1.    Check the tires

The first thing you need to check before you go out on the open road is the condition of your tires. Every tire has its recommended pressure range, which is something to look out for before heading out. This is also a reliable way to check if any of them is at risk of going flat in the middle of the trip. The easiest way to do so is with a digital tire gauge, which is a handy thing to have in a household. Finally, make sure to check the pressure of your spare tire as well, which is something that a lot of people completely loose from their mind.

2.    Inspect the fluids

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that the level of the fluids in your car needs to be in perfect order. You can start with oil that needs to be changed every 10,000 or even 5,000 miles. This is approximately 3-4 months but it is much better to simply note down how many miles the meter displayed when you last changed the oil. Furthermore, you need to look out for the temperature your car will encounter on this trip, seeing as how your oil viscosity needs to be adequate for that particular climate. You also need to make sure your coolant, antifreeze and brake fluid are topped up. As you can see, some of these are, more or less, situational.

3.    Check the lights

The next tip is there to protect you, as well as any other traffic participant you encounter. During the nightly commute, the lights will not only provide you with visibility necessary to drive but also make you more visible to others, which helps you avoid a collision. This, however, isn’t something you can check on your own. Ask a friend for a help and test your lights (all of your lights) prior to setting off. Additionally, you should always have some spare bulbs in the trunk, just in case.

4.    Check your first aid kit and make an emergency kit

At the end of the day, you need to keep in mind that some of the supplies that go into your first aid kit have an expiry date. This is why you need to check it properly before you ever need it. Also, you might want to think about making an emergency kit of your own while you’re at it. Here, you might want to add some drinks and snacks, an up-to-date map and a flashlight. Just having this by your side should make you much more comfortable on the open road.


The best thing about this checklist is that it mostly consists of routine checkups, most of which you don’t even need a mechanic for. Still, if you intend to go on a longer road trip, it might be ill-advised to try and DIY this. Remember that if everything goes right, it will appear if you didn’t really need any of these four maintenance steps in the first place and this is exactly what you want.

Must-See Cars of All Times