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How to Prepare a Car for a Road Trip

Published Fri April 28, 2017


It’s finally, road trip season. There may not be any more snow drifts or icy roads, but there are still some things people can do to ensure road trips are heavy on fun and light on worry. With that in mind, Meineke is offering tips for a safer, more economical, stress-free journey this summer. With brighter days and warmer temperatures comes the promise of summer and, for the true adventurers among us, the possibility of a road trip more epic than last year. Planning for a safe and fun road trip is both fun and advantageous. The key word is planning. Answering a few key questions can save time and money and help ensure you don’t find yourself hundreds of miles from your favorite Meineke Car Care Center spending money on repairs that could have been prevented with a little foresight.


Here is a quick road trip checklist to get you started:


  • Check the brakes and rotors
  • Check the fluid levels
  • Check the tires (do they need to be replaced, rotated, patched)
  • Check the tire pressure
  • Check the wiper blades
  • Check the lights (Don’t forget brakes and turn signals!)

Here are a few things to think about that could take your trip from failure to fantastic:


  • What should you do to prepare your vehicle? Deciding how to prepare your car for a road trip is essential for road trip safety. Though it is easy to overlook car maintenance when preparing to travel–and quite frankly can feel about as exciting as a dental visit–it is necessary for a safe and successful trip. An ounce of prevention, as the saying goes, is worth a pound of cure. To this end, pre-trip maintenance is the best kind of prevention. Ask yourself these questions: What is the terrain supposed to be during the road trip? What is the weather supposed to be like? How can I make the car ride itself more comfortable? Does the air conditioner need any attention? In the rush to discover how to plan a road trip, we need to remember to prepare our vehicle as well.
  • Where do you want to go? This seems like an obvious place to start, but often, people don’t consider what they most want to do when planning where they want to go. Considering the end from the beginning will save time and frustration. Do you want to see the ocean? Do you want to find a famous landmark? What’s on your bucket list? Start with what you most want to do. Once you have decided what you’d like to see or where you’d like to go, decide if your car can make the trip as is, or what you’ll need to do to get it trip-ready. While spontaneous cross-country road trips can be memorable, they can also become disastrous in the blink of an eye.
  • What do you need to take? Deciding what to pack on a road trip can save serious time and money. The travel budget can quickly get eaten up one forgotten item at a time. And little costs more than making an emergency trip to a car repair shop in the middle of nowhere. The key to taking everything you need is making the right lists. Thankfully, pre-made packing lists exist all over the Internet, as do lists for summer car maintenance. It’s always a good idea to have your car looked at before you embark on the cross-country road trip of your dreams. Nothing will put a damper on your trip like paying big bucks for a problem that could have been found (and fixed!) by your favorite Meineke Car Care Center before you left home. Making a list and checking it twice is an old but good strategy.

You can never be too careful about summer car care when pre-trip maintenance is involved. It is unlikely anyone has ever traveled and regretted spending time on pre-trip maintenance, though it is highly possible auto owners have regretted not doing more to prepare.


  • What should you do once you are on the road? Since drowsy driving is still one of the most frequent contributing factors in accidents, it is paramount that you stay alert once you are on the road. How does this happen? Pack your favorite snacks, schedule frequent breaks, and share driving responsibilities. One of the greatest benefits of traveling by car is that you can enjoy the journey and not just the destination. Choosing to snap photos at each new state sign, for instance, can become a fun memory. Stopping to discover new shops or fun eateries is what road tripping is all about. Road trip safety is of utmost importance when planning a summer road trip. It is always a good idea to travel with necessities, including but not limited to flashlights, blankets, water, and food. Also, be sure you travel with important contact information including the phone number of your trusted Meineke Car Care Center.

Summer is the perfect time to get out into the fresh air and onto the open roads. Very little beats the feeling of the windows rolled down and the warm summer wind whipping through your hair, regardless of the destination. Make your road trip the best it can be by taking the necessary steps to prepare your vehicle for the trip. Better yet, before you leave, bring your car into your local Meineke Car Care Center so that we can prepare your car for a great summer road trip.