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Road trips are one of the most exciting (and budget-friendly!) ways to visit new places. But with long hours behind the wheel comes lots of preparation. Of course, you have to confirm you packed snacks, that there are enough emergency supplies in your trunk, and that you have all your paperwork up to date, especially your license.
But your bags and personal items aren’t the only ones you must prepare. You should also get your vehicle ready. Beyond ensuring there’s plenty of fuel or that you have a clean car, there are lots of things to review before embarking on a trip. Don’t fret if you don’t know them all, we’ve compiled everything in this blog. Here’s your ultimate car checklist for a long road trip, so you can enjoy smooth sailing from beginning to end.

Check Your Tires

1. Check Your Tires

Tire Pressure:

Confirm all tires (yes, including the spare tire!) are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. This will improve fuel efficiency, so won’t run out of gas so early on your trip.

Tread Depth

Inspect the tread depth to make sure you have enough traction for safe driving. Use the penny test: Place a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see the top of his head, it’s time to replace the tires.

Alignment and Rotation

 It is best to consult with a professional about this. A specialist will guarantee proper alignment and, if needed, rotate the tires for you. This prevents uneven wear and improves vehicle handling.

2. Inspect Fluids

Engine Oil

Review the oil levels and their condition. If it’s dirty or approaching the next replacement interval, it’s time to do an oil change before your trip.


Coolant is essential to avoid engine overheating, so it’s crucial to guarantee the level is acceptable and that the fluid is clean.

Brake Fluid

 Inspecting the brake fluid level is a must before taking your vehicle out of the garage. If you suspect your car’s low on it, top it up. You can check our low on brake fluid symptoms to know what you have to watch out for.

Transmission Fluid

Scan the transmission fluid level and condition. Clean, properly filled transmission fluid ensures smooth gear changes.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Fill up your windshield washer fluid reservoir and carry extra fluid for the journey.

Test Your Battery

3. Test Your Battery

Battery Life

No one wants to get stranded in the middle of nowhere. This item on our list ensures this never happens to you: Check the age of your battery. If it’s over three years old, consider having it tested or replaced to avoid unexpected (and unpleasant) failures.

 Clean Terminals

Inspect and clean the battery terminals to provide a good connection. Corroded terminals might prevent your car from starting.

4. Examine Brakes

Brake Pads and Rotors

Proper brake performance is key to our car checklist before a road trip. We always recommend inspecting the brake pads and rotors for wear. If you hear squealing or grinding, have them replaced immediately.

Brake Lightss

Confirm all brake lights are functioning correctly for safety.

Examine Brakes
Check Lights And Signal

5. Check Lights and Signals

Headlights and Taillights

Test all headlights, taillights, and high beams to guarantee they are in peak condition, especially if you’re planning a long drive at night or if the forecast predicts cloudy weather. Don’t forget to replace any burnt-out bulbs.

Turn Signals and Hazard Lightss

Verify that all turn signals and hazard lights function correctly. These are crucial for communication on the road.

6. Inspect Belts and Hoses

Drive Belt

Check the drive belt for cracks or signs of wear. A broken belt can lead to significant engine damage.


Inspect all hoses for leaks, cracks, or bulges. If any look worn out, replace them immediately.


7. Ensure Visibility

Windshield Wipers

Part of our car maintenance checklist is reviewing the condition of your windshield wipers and replacing them if they are leaving streaks or making noise.

Clean Windows and Mirrors

Not even the most experienced driver can overcome low visibility. Prior to a long trip, clean all windows and mirrors inside and out to ensure a safe journey on the highway.

8. Test the HVAC System

Air Conditioning

For a comfortable road trip, make sure the air conditioning system is working properly, especially if you’re traveling in hot weather.


Check that the heater is functioning if your trip includes cold climates.

Test The HVAC System

9. Pack The Essentials

Essential Items

No matter how prepared you are, unexpected issues might arise. The most important trip checklist tip we can recommend is to include items like a first aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables, tire repair kit, and other basic tools.

Spare Tire

Make sure you have a properly inflated spare tire, jack, and lug wrench.

10. Plan for Connectivity

Phone Charger

Bring a car phone charger or portable battery pack to keep your devices charged.

GPS and Maps

Our last road trip checklist for your car is to confirm your GPS is updated. We also advise you to carry physical maps as a backup in case of signal loss in some areas or weather conditions.

Plan For Connectivity

Complete Your Road Trip Checklist With Amarz Muffler & Auto Service!

Preparation is essential for an enjoyable and safe adventure. Our ultimate car checklist for a long road trip guarantees your vehicle is ready for the journey, allowing you to focus on admiring the open road and making those unforgettable memories you deserve!

Amarz Muffler & Auto Service is your reliable partner in ensuring your car is ready for your next road trip! We provide inspections at competitive rates to keep you on budget before traveling. Come find us at 5890 Dixie Road #2, Mississauga, or dial (905) 564-0090 to schedule an appointment today!

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