How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

How to prepare your car for a road trip

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It’s fair to say road trips have enjoyed a resurgence since the pandemic hit. People are looking for a way to get out of the house that doesn’t involve being packed like sardines in an airplane and all of the other considerations that come with it. While road trips can and should be fun , nothing can turn the mood like tire or car troubles. Here’s how to prepare your car for a road trip:


Is it close to 3,000 miles since your last oil change or are you going to cross that threshold while in route? Well, you probably should get your oil changed.


While getting your oil changed, make sure to rotate your tires. Tires should typically rotated about every 3-5K miles so it makes it easy to remember when you do both simultaneously. This will help keep your tires healthy.

Before you head out on the road, you should check your tire health, check both tread and tire air pressure levels. You can ask a professional for help determining if you have adequate tire tread or you can use the old penny trick. Take a penny and place it vertically with Lincoln’s head down between your treads. When you’re eye level with it, look to see if you can see his full head. If you can, you probably need new tires, if only part of  his head is showing, you probably still have some mileage left on them.


When it comes to tires you’ll also want to make sure you’ve got everything you need to change a tire such as a tire iron, spare tire, cones, and a jack. This is extremely important as being underprepared for a flat, is one of the easiest ways to have a road trip head south. If you’ve never changed a tire before it’s a good idea to watch a video before leaving so you can minimize your time pulled over on the side of the road or in a parking lot.

One of the common beginner mistakes is to not know where or how to use a tire wheel lock. Tire wheel locks are a small cylindrical key designed to keep thieves from steeling your tires. Make sure if your car has one, that you know where it is located and how to use it. You’ll likely need this to remove your tires.


Check that your lights are working, that your bulbs are working and that your headlights are not oxidized. If you are driving early mornings or through the night at all, this could cause visibility issues.

General Maintenance

Make sure all your fluids are topped off such as coolant, oil, power steering, wiper and brake fluid. If you want to go the extra mile, get your car inspected by a mechanic. This is especially true if your car has been making odd sounds or is pushing 100K miles.

Survival Kit

It’s important to have a kit with essentials in it should you find yourself stranded on a backroad or perhaps in rough weather conditions like a blizzard. The kits can also come in handy even in less extreme situations like should you get a small cut, have a headache or need water. You can find already prepared 72 hour kits on Amazon or you can make your own but the key is to make them substantial enough that you are prepared for most situations but not so big they become a nuisance and you don’t have room for anything else. Some common items you might find inside are:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Water/Water Purifying Tablets or Filter
  • Knife
  • Batteries
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Flares
  • Space Blankets
  • Long Shelf Life Foods
  • Flashlight

Quality of Life Items

Apart from the essentials make sure you’ve got all the goods to make it a comfortable road trip.

  • Chargers
  • Wipes (for hands and the car)
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Utensils
  • Snacks and Water
  • Sunglasses

So you know how to prepare your car for a road trip and now you’ve realized you need a new set of tires and don’t want to leave the house or sit in a waiting room that smells like burnt coffee and rubber. Let us know, and we’ll bring the tire change to you!


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