Road trip checklist: Things to do before taking your car out for an out-of-town drive

Road trip checklist: Things to do before taking your car out for an out-of-town drive

Road trips are great because you can leave your stress behind, visit your relatives in the province, or see new places without having to get on a plane. So, don’t allow your trip to be ruined when your car suddenly breaks down in the middle of an unfamiliar road. Take a look at this handy checklist to make sure that your car is ready for the long drive.

Tires

Check the condition of your tires including your spare. Make sure that the pressure matches what’s written in the manual or on a sticker near the driver’s door. Take a look at the pressure when your car is still parked, since the heat from driving would already change the pressure. Also, see if the treads on your tire are not worn out. You don’t want your car slipping out of control on slick expressways.

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Battery

If your battery is over two years old, it might already be due for a replacement. See if it has rust, cracks, leaks, loose parts or discoloration. Test it with a voltmeter to check if it needs a charge. The ideal voltage should be 12.4 to 12.7 volts.

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Fluids

Prevent overheating by topping off your radiator with a mixture of 50% engine coolant and 50% water. Straight tap water without a coolant mix is harmful, but you can use distilled water when you’re already on the road. Also, top off your engine oil up to the maximum level. Additionally, fill up your gasoline tank and check your windshield fluid reservoir.

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Lights

Even if you know that you’re driving in the morning, your drive could still last all day. For dark provincial roads and tunnels, you would need working headlights, taillights and turn signals. Test them before leaving the garage.

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Brakes

When your car does not stop after hitting your brakes, there is obviously something very wrong. Check if your brake fluid is not leaking and that your brake pads are not worn out. You don’t want to lose control of your car when going up and down steep mountain roads.

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Aircon

When your aircon has already behaved oddly in the past, it will be good to have it checked out before your trip. An hour in the city traffic without aircon is bad enough, so imagine that multiplied after a few hours of driving in a packed vehicle.

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Emergency kit

Be sure to have your car’s manual, insurance policy and warranty in the car. You should also have a basic tool kit with a flashlight, tow straps, jumper cables and tire iron for troubleshooting on the road. Plus, don’t forget the people in the car. Take with you enough drinking water and a first-aid kit.

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This is a basic checklist for your car regardless of how long you’ll be driving it, so it’s good to learn how to do these checkups yourself. But for those who still doubt their car expertise, just take your car to a mechanic or gasoline station at least a week before your trip.

Stay safe and enjoy your road trip!

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