How to Prepare Your Vehicle for a Road Trip

by Country Inns & Suites
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

car interior

Summer is a great time to hit the road for a memorable car trip, but you need to do a little bit of planning ahead before you jump in the car. Taking some or all of the following steps can help you prepare your vehicle before your trip, so you can help prevent potential car troubles along the way and arrive safely at your destination.

1. Schedule a vehicle checkup a few weeks before your trip

Allowing ample time to have your car checked before a trip may come in handy if a filter, belt, or other automotive part needs to be ordered before your departure date. Your mechanics should check the battery, windshield wipers, brakes, and tires, and top off all fluids.

2. Double-check your vehicle the day before your trip

The day before you hit the open road, do a last-minute check of your vehicle’s windshield washer fluid, lights, tire pressure, engine oil, and coolant. Doing this extra check will help you ensure that your vehicle is as ready as you are for your trip, and will also give you peace of mind before you even pull out of your driveway.

3. Keep your vehicle’s important documents handy

Gather all of the important documents for your vehicle, such as proof of registration, car insurance information, and the manual, and tuck them safely away in your glove box. If you happen to get pulled over by a cop or have a small vehicle malfunction, having these documents handy will help you be prepared.

4. Have emergency equipment on hand

Before starting your trip, make sure that you have emergency equipment in the trunk of your vehicle, such as a tire iron, spare tire, jack, flashlight, first aid kit, blanket, and jumper cables. If your car battery dies or you get a flat, you’ll be better prepared to fix the problem and continue to your destination without adding too much time to your trip. If you are a member of a car club or have emergency roadside services through your insurance carrier, a credit card, or the vehicle manufacturer, you should also bring the contact information along in case you need professional assistance.

5. Don’t forget the map

If you travel with a map, you should map out your route beforehand to get an idea of your travel time, distance, and anything you may encounter along the way, such as rush hour traffic. If you prefer to travel with a GPS, make sure it is charged and has your destination and any stopping points programmed into it before you leave. You should also pack a map with your route mapped out, just in case your GPS loses connection or malfunctions before you complete your trip.

6. Pack snacks and drinks for the trip

Your vehicle isn’t road trip ready without a bag or cooler full of snacks and drinks. Pack several bottles of water or other drinks, along with your favorite travel-friendly snacks, to avoid frequent stops and curb any between-meal cravings.

Finally, don’t forget to book a stay at a Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotel along your route. You can even save up to 25 percent at participating hotels when you book and pay at least 14 days in advance with our Advance Purchase Rate.

Are you a frequent “road tripper”? Tell us how you get your vehicle ready for a trip in the comments section below.