The Ultimate Pre-Road Trip Checklist

The Ultimate Pre-Road Trip Checklist

If you are heading out on a road trip, it is best to check over your car a least a few days before you travel. Don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road or waiting for a tow truck… especially on a family vacation.

1. Check all exterior lights

This is one of the easiest things to check before you take your vehicle on a road trip, but it is commonly forgotten. Turn the key to the “on” position and check the turn signals, brake lights, tail lights, low beams, high beams, and backup lights.

The easiest way to do this is to have a friend or family member inspect the lights while you operate them. If you are unable to find a willing person to help you, back your vehicle up to a wall and watch for the reflection of the lights while you check all of the lights.

2. Check for fluid leaks

Small fluid leaks on any car can easily turn into big gushers once you leave town. These repairs can be costly and can cause you to be stranded on the side of the road. Handling these small fluid leaks before you go on a road trip can help ensure the safety of everyone in the car.

The most common sources of leaks are from the radiator, heater and radiator hoses, power steering hoses, and the engine oil pan. If you do find a fluid leak, note the color and attempt to trace the fluids back the source. If you find the source and need repair before you leave the trip, please contact A+ Japanese Auto Repair in San Carlos, 650-595-2277

3. Check your tire pressure

Low air pressure can cause your car to use more gas, wear faster on the tires, and run hotter. Hot tires are more prone to blowouts during extended highway driving. The last thing that you want to experience on your road trip is a tire blowout in your car!

Make sure that you check the air pressure in all of the tires as well as the spare tire. You can locate the correct setting for the air pressure on the sticker located on the driver’s door jam, the glove box, or the gas door lid. If you are unable to locate the correct air pressure, you can consult your owner’s manual.

4. Check your fluid level and condition

The best time to check your fluids is in the morning when your vehicle’s engine is cold. Check the power steering fluid, the brake fluid, coolant, windshield wiper fluid, engine oil, and the transmission oil. You can use your owner’s manual to learn how to check the fluids or feel free to come by A+ Japanese Auto Repair in San Carlosand we will check all of your fluids for free. Don’t find yourself running low on any fluids while on a road trip!

5. Check the condition of the drive belts

Broken belts are one of the most common reasons for roadside assistance calls. It’s much easier to replace a belt on your car when you are in your own town then having to find a place out on your road trip after your car has broken down on the side of the road. Before leaving for your road trip, use a flashlight and inspect the belts for any that are cracked or worn. Also, if you hear any squeaking or rotational noise from the engine, you may also need belts. 

This information was provided to you by Eric Sevim, an ASE Master Certified Auto Repair technician from A+ Japanese Auto Repair in San Carlos CA. If you’d like help with a free travel inspection before you leave town, please feel free to contact A+ Japanese Auto Repair. 650-595-2277 or

Eric S.

A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. 


Disclaimer: This article is provided for general informational purposes only.  It is not intended as advice for your particular vehicle, and should not be relied upon for that purpose.  Please consult a qualified automotive maintenance professional to determine the maintenance and repair needs for your vehicle.

Categories: Car Maintenance
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