Family with camping car on the road

Get Your Car Road-Trip Ready

It is summer and it’s the perfect time for family vacations on the road. Before you pack your cooler with food, your bathing suits, towels and your kids into the car, you need to make sure that you are not at risk of having a weird smell that you cannot get rid of or smeared, dead bugs all over your windshield, no air conditioning or even worse, breaking down on the side of the road.

Here is my checklist for getting your vehicle road trip ready for a summer trip:

Take car to your mechanic and have them do an inspection – they will check your oil (brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant strength and power steering fluid), coolant, belts, hoses and timing belt, battery, air filter, brakes, battery and fuel injector. Don’t travel without having these looked at, please. If your brakes are worn out, get them serviced. If your air filter is clogged, it restricts air flow in the cabin of the car. Unless you have AAA, it’s cheaper to get these items serviced than to pay for a tow truck and a motel room in an unintended place.

Replace those worn out windshield wiper blades and top up the wiper fluid – dead bugs on the glass will come off easier with some fluid!

Fill your gas tank! – Not negotiable, you cannot go very far without gas in that tank! Often the price of gas in remote areas is more expensive than in the urban/suburban areas, so be sure you head out on a full tank, especially if you find gas at a good price.

Check your tire pressure – Make sure you have adequate air in your tires and that you have a kit to fix a flat just in case. check for your spare tires and that you know where the release mechanism is. Make sure you have all the tools needed or be sure to have a CAA or AAA membership!

Clean out the car – Remove all the garbage and things that kids have left over. Wipe and clean up spilled juice and remove cracker crumbles.

Get or make a decent first aid kit. – Accidents happen – even a scratch on your arm while out for a hike, so be prepared with bandaids and antiseptic.

Invest in a roadmap – If you are traveling to areas with very little to no population (think signs like “last gas for 50 miles”, then make sure you have a roadmap because chances are, there will be no cellular service to access your maps app on your smartphone.

This post originally appeared on KathrynAnywhere. It has been reprinted with permission.

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