It is always a good idea to keep up with oil changes, recharge car batteries, fluid levels, and other annual inspection items on a regular basis. However, these things are critical before a road trip where you vehicle is likely to be called upon for long hours in less than average conditions. If you are going anywhere hot, then be sure to add coolant levels to the list of fluids to be inspected before departure as well.
Rubber on the Road
Ensure that your tires are in good condition before pulling out of the drive way. Low air levels and bad tread can lead to poor gas mileage in addition to increasing the discomfort of the ride. This element can also be a safety concern. Should the tread be worn to the point that the internal wiring is exposed, there is a high likelihood of experiencing a blowout that can potentially cause you to have a sudden accident.
A Quick Stop
The condition of your brakes should be inspected as well. Be sure that the rotors and pads have enough life in them to provide adequate stopping distances. Also, check on the levels of brake fluid in the vehicle. Should you not be able to perform this one yourself, the majority of auto shops will do a free inspection in very little time.
Pack a Basic Kit
You never know what kind of obstacles and unexpected mechanical problems you will face on these kinds of drives. In order to be prepared, bring along a small tool kit that includes some of the basic requirements for general auto jobs. This kit should include items such as wrenches, pliers, a hammer, screwdrivers, and ratchets.
Check the condition of your battery using an amp reader to make sure that it will get you to your destination and back again. While looking at the battery, also glance at the alternator for any obvious problems that might impede its ability to recharge the battery as your trip moves ahead. Should any signs of corrosion or other red flags be present on the battery connectors, clean them or replace the battery altogether before leaving home.