How to Prepare Your Car for a Summer Road Trip

Road trips are a Wisconsin summer staple. There are thousands of destinations to see and experience within a short distance, including State Parks, lakes, hiking trails, scenic drives, and major cities. There’s something for everyone to enjoy. Preparing the perfect itinerary in advance can build excitement and anticipation for your trip, but don’t forget to make car maintenance part of your road trip checklist as well to ensure a smooth trip.

Tips to prepare your car before you hit the highway

Keep Up With regular maintenance  

You’ll only go as far as your car takes you. To increase the longevity of your vehicle and take your road trip far, keep up with all regular maintenance. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, any replacements needed, keeping up with fluid levels, and regular tune ups. Check your owner’s manual for potential repairs needed to avoid unpleasant surprises while on the road. Some vehicles even tell you on the main dashboard when you need upcoming maintenance, or what your car might be due for, like an oil change. Consider scheduling a tune up before you leave to provide peace of mind and help you focus on having a fun, safe road trip.  

Thoroughly inspect parts

Before your trip, make sure that your car is ready to go by going over a quick checklist of things that might need to get fixed or replaced. You should check your oil filter, brakes and brake pads, all lights, windshield wipers, the battery, tires and tire pressure, and all fluids.

Check for towing, roof rack, and bike mount safety

Road trips can be a wonderful opportunity to explore Wisconsin’s great outdoors, including lakes and rivers. If you’re towing a boat, attaching a kayak or canoe to your roof rack, or mounting bicycles for your trip, learn beforehand about the safest ways to travel, both for your passengers and accessories. When mounting or towing items, ensure they are secured properly. Consider bringing an extra set of mounting or towing materials and tools in case one should break or become misplaced.

Clean the interior and exterior

A well-prepared trip starts with a clean vehicle interior. This can ensure your road trip essentials are organized and you have the best unobstructed window views. It can also help make long drives more comfortable by eliminating clutter, and in the case of an emergency, can help you find necessary items. You might also want to clean the exterior of your vehicle before your trip, especially headlights and taillights, to increase visibility.

Be prepared for an emergency

Aside from packing everything you need to have a fun trip, consider adding items that would be helpful in case of an emergency. Items could include:

  • Jumper cables
  • Flares and lighting, including extra bulbs
  • A spare tire, tire pressure gauge, and tire inflator
  • Car fluids and basic tools
  • Blanket
  • Towels for cleaning or wiping down your car
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Tarp
  • Extra chargers
  • Solar-powered battery pack
  • Replacement maps or route guides
  • Extra water and non-perishable food
  • Necessary medicine or over-the-counter remedies

Safely preparing for a road trip comes down to more than just the way you’re getting there. Investing in the right car insurance will protect you so you can plan for any adventure, near or far, and keep your mind on the journey ahead. To get started, contact your local Rural Mutual agent.