How to get your car ready for a road trip

How to get your car ready for a road trip
How to get your car ready for a road trip

The thought of a road trip is enough to get most people excited, but that excitement can lead to overlooking things that could turn your dream trip into a nightmare if you don’t pay them the attention they need. You know all those routine car maintenance tasks you always intend to do that don’t always get done? Well, this is the perfect time to take care of them and more to make sure the only thing you have to worry about on your road trip is enjoying yourself.


One of the most important fluids in your car to get you where you're going is gas, but there will be plenty of gas stations on the way and you’re not going to run out, are you? But there are other fluids you need to check before setting out on your trip that you might only realize you've forgotten when it's too late. Engine oil is the first essential, and you should be keeping a check on that all the time anyway as part of proper car care. If you’re vehicle tends to use a lot of oil make sure the level is right before you depart and take some with you for top ups if necessary.

Radiator fluid, coolant, antifreeze or whatever you want to call it is important whether the climate is cold, hot or anywhere in between. If your coolant is too low it can lead to your engine overheating, and that's not something you want to happen when you're in the middle of nowhere with no signs of life and no mobile phone connection.

Other fluids such as brake fluid, power steering fluid and transmission fluid are not things you'll be checking yourself regularly, but it's worth getting them checked out before setting off on a particularly long road trip.

And of course, your windshield fluid needs to be topped up. You only realize how important windshield fluid is when you need it and nothing happens when you press the button. Make sure you have spare water in a bottle with you for a number of reasons, but before you set off make sure there's some proper windshield washer fluid in your car's reservoir bottle.


You should be regularly checking your tires for their pressures and their condition, but especially before you embark on any long journey. Risking a blowout when you're in the town or the city is one thing as you can get sorted out quickly and easily, but if you’re somewhere like the desert between Yosemite and Las Vegas it can be a massive problem. And remember to check your spare too as it's amazing how often the spare isn’t up to the job if you haven't checked it when you find you desperately need it.

General maintenance

If you keep up with your regular servicing schedule in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations you shouldn’t have too much to worry about as far as brakes, lights, filters and belts are concerned. But if you're within a month or two or a few hundred miles of needing a service, it's probably a good idea to get it done before setting off on a long road trip, just in case.

Are you ready too?

Depending on where you’re going, how long the journey is and what weather conditions you’re likely to encounter, you need to think that you and your passengers have what they need too. Drinks and food can be picked up along the way as long as you’re going to be in inhabited areas all the time. But if you’re going through the desert, up into the mountains or anywhere else with challenging conditions, having some food, water, a fully charged phone, a charger, some basic tools and the right clothes is essential, even on a spring road trip in good weather.

To get your vehicle checked out professionally so you know it's as fit as it can be for that important road trip, don’t hesitate to bring it to our expert team here at Southern California Ford Dealers to get it checked over properly.