Summer Road Trip Checklist


Whether you’re planning a cross-country trip, or you’re just cruising up to Lake Geneva, make sure your car is in tip-top shape before heading out.

Use this checklist to make sure all your bases are covered, so you can enjoy a worry-free trip. Most shops offer free vacation checks, where you can take in your car and they’ll check everything from fluids to tire pressure. Travelers should take advantage of this in the days before a big trip. Note that it’s important to tell the shop where you’re going, because they’ll look at your car differently if your destination is farther away.

Before you leave:

  • Check all of the fluids.
  • Check the air pressure in all four tires, plus the spare. Insider tip: Many shops don’t check the spare because there’s so much junk in the trunk, so ask specifically that they check it. A flat spare will do you no good if you’re stranded on the highway.
  • Make sure all of your lights and wipers are fully functioning.
  • Tell someone where you’re going, and let them know when you arrive.

Things to bring:

  • Cell phone
  • Car charger
  • Flashlight
  • Granola bars
  • Bottles of water
  • Insurance card and registration (especially if you’re going out of state)
  • Jug of water—Insider tip: In case there’s a cooling issue and the car overheats or the radiator starts to leak, you’ll want to put water in the radiator.

Once you’re ready to hit the road, John, owner of Personalized Auto Care, suggests using cruise control whenever possible to get optimal gas mileage. It’s both a “greener” option and makes a major difference in fuel savings.

Finally, enjoy! You’ll be all set and ready to make the most of your summer road trip.

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Photo: Winding Road by Bigstock