The Essential Summer Road Trip Checklist: What to Do Before You Go
Summer road trips should be all about fun. A surprise stop at a roadside attraction. An amazing diner off the beaten track you luck into. A swimming hole in a state park no one back home’s ever heard of.
An auto breakdown can really spoil these good times.
Heat is hard on your vehicle. High temperatures make tires, rubber belts, hoses and wipers degrade faster. High temps plus extra demands on your battery — like the engine cooling fan, A/C and stereo running all at once — can lead to battery failure. When you plan a road trip, make sure your vehicle is as ready to get out of town as you are.
Here’s your checklist on what to do before you leave home to be sure your vehicle is ready for the summer drive and you and your crew are prepared for a safe trip.
The Essential Summer Road Trip Checklist
Check for recalls on your vehicle.
Check all lights, including emergency flashers and trailer lights.
Make sure your wheels are aligned. You could damage your tires if they’re not.
Have your shocks and struts looked at, especially if you’re planning on traveling rough roads.
With a cool engine, check radiator fluids (coolant reservoir full). With summer driving comes a higher risk of your engine overheating.
Test your A/C.
Check all other fluids: brake, transmission, power steering, windshield washer.
Inspect belts and hoses for damaged rubber and loose connections.
Have brakes checked, including trailer brakes.
Change wiper blades if needed.
Removable roof racks, back-end cargo carriers and bike racks:
Look for worn parts.
Make sure racks are properly secured.
Remember to not exceed the manufacturer’s load rating.
Load luggage and gear inside your vehicle with safety in mind.
Pack heavier items first and toward the center.
Don’t stack too high, for driver’s line of sight and so items don’t shoot forward at a hard stop.
Distribute weight evenly to keep vehicle balanced.
Verify your roadside assistance policy is current, and have the number or app handy.
Charge your phone and don’t forget your charger.
Carry a first aid kit, a flashlight or headlamp, and extra water in case you’re stranded in the heat.
Check weather on your route.
Get a lot of the above done FREE with a pre-trip safety check at Les Schwab Tires.