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Most of us have amazing memories of a Road Trip we have been on either with friends or family. With the good also sometimes comes the bad. Very few things will put a damper on a road trip like a vehicle break down. Before you get on the open road to make some memories use this check list to help make sure you are prepared for the adventure at hand.

  • Brakes checked
  • Tires and Spare Tire
  • Belts
  • Hoses
  • Battery and Alternator
  • Vehicle Lighting
  • Wiper Blades
  • Roadside Kit

Brake Pads and Rotors

Being able to safely stop while out on the road is crucial to us getting to our destination and back safely. Your brakes can be working perfectly fine until they do not. By preforming an inspection of the brake pads, condition of the rotors, and brake fluid before the trip can give you an idea if they should be changed before you leave on the trip. Finding a good mechanic who can fit you in while passing thru town can be a difficult task. If you do not feel comfortable doing performing this inspection you can set up an appointment with your local Automotive Repair shop and have them inspect your brakes and the rest of the car before you embark on your voyage.

Tires and Spare Tire

Walk around and inspect the tire tread that on each of your tires. Look for the wear bars and make sure you have tread that is sticking up above them. If you are unfamiliar with what the tire wear bar is, you can also use a penny and verify if the head of Lincon disappears in the tire tread. You will also want to look at your spare tire and make sure it is serviceable if needed. Make sure you can find your jack, tire iron, spare tire access tool, and wheel lock key if applicable. You do not want to have a flat tire and no way to change it. That can leave you stranded alongside the road.

Serpentine or V belts

The serpentine belt on your vehicle is often overlooked when preforming maintenance on your vehicle. This belt controls most of the accessory components on your vehicle. It is a great idea to look at it and inspect for cracks. While you are looking for cracks in the ribs or other signs of wear make sure the belt is not loose. You can grab and pull the serpentine belt and should have some pressure pulling it back down from the automatic tensioner. If you have a v-belt system, look for cracks as well. When checking to make sure the belts are tight you want about 1/4 twist in the belt.


Taking a look at your radiator hoses as well as your heater hoses before taking a trip is a good idea. While inspecting them for any signs of a coolant leak which could be obvious, or it could be a little crust at the ends of the hoses. Give them a squeeze. You do not want to your hoses to be extremely soft and squishy. In turn you also don’t want them to be rock solid and dried out. If you have any concerns about the hoses stop by either of our locations and we can take at them with you. Look around for your coolant overflow tank and if it is below the min line add some of the correct coolant for your vehicle.


Inspect your battery. Confirm the connections are good and tight. Visually inspect the battery for any signs of corrosion. A large majority of the time corrosion will look like a white fuzzy growth on the battery terminals. After the visual inspection it have the system tested. The test on the battery and charging system do not take a prolonged period of time. You can have that system tested at most Autopart stores. If your battery is testing week replace it before the road trip. We have all heard that click when the battery does not have enough charge to start our car. That can happen at the most inconvenient of times.


Check all your exterior lights on your vehicle before your road trip. They play an important role in our safety while out on the road. From brake and turn signals that indicate our intentions to the motorist behind us to headlights and front turn signal lamps that indicate our intentions to oncoming motorists. Not only is it important for our safety nobody wants a fixit ticket especially while on a road trip away from home.


Not only do we need to be seen while driving we also need to be able to see. Check your wipers blades especially as we are headed into the rainy season. Getting caught in a storm and not be able to see due to the wiper blades are not working can be hazardous. Take a few minutes to inspect the rubber part that comes into contact with the windshield. Make sure its flexible and connected. You can also activate your washer fluid and use the wipers to see how well they are working. After checking your wiper blades if you determine you need replace them check out one of our previous blogs about Wiper blades.


Before you go out on any check for your roadside emergency kit. Make sure it has all the needed components. You can find yourself not as prepared as you thought because items were used and not replenished in the kit. The picture above is just an example of a roadside emergency kit. Whatever you carry make sure to have first aid supplies, jumpstart cables/pack, Fix a flat/tire repair kit with air, misc. tools, flares/safety lighting, safety triangles, and a flashlight. Not particularly part of the kit we would recommend carrying a qt of oil, power steering fluid, coolant or water, and some transmission fluid. You never know when you may need to top off a system.