How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip Summer Travel

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

Maximize Space: Smart Packing Strategies for Your Road Trip

Getting your car ready for a road trip isn't a huge ordeal, but it does require some attention. Let's be honest, our cars take a beating throughout the year, but summer seems especially tough with all those road trips. This year, we're hitting the road for a whopping six weeks – half the summer! When it comes to car care, I confess I'm a bit reactive. Filling up the gas tank (unless my husband beats me to it) is about the extent of my routine maintenance. The “change oil” light usually prompts my only car-related action. This “How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip” post aims to inspire even us reactive car owners to be proactive for a smooth and safe summer adventure.

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip Cooper tires Cooper Tires Cooper Tires

This year, I decided to be proactive and get both of our cars ready for the summer. First, my car needed new tires so we had four (4) Cooper Tires put on a few weeks ago. Did you know that choosing a great tire matters? Did you know that your tires should be checked at least once a month? Checking your tires for proper maintenance and safety is a simple, do-it-yourself routine that will get you road-ready. As the only part of your vehicle connecting it to the road, checking them monthly and before road trips is recommended. Here are our 5 Ways to Prepare Your Car for Summer Travel.

Stay Organized : Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

Schedule a Check-up. Get the oil changed.

 If your car is due for any routine maintenance, get it serviced before your trip. This could include an oil change, tire rotation, or other recommended services as per your car's manual. Check engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid levels. Top them off or get them changed if necessary, especially if your car is due for an oil change. Consider replacing the air filter for better engine performance. Make certain that in addition to the oil change, all of your regular maintenance is done as well (I.e. refill the windshield wiper fluid, water in the car, etc.)

Clean and organize the inside.

Several times a year, I tackle the task of decluttering my car to make space for luggage and improve gas mileage. The biggest cleaning frenzy happens right before summer break and our annual road trip. It's always surprising how much school paraphernalia accumulates in the backseat! Lost library books, clothes that mysteriously vanished from home – you name it, I've found it. This cleaning session isn't just about creating space; it's also a chance to reorganize everything and check essential supplies like the first-aid kit, DVDs (for those long drives!), mints, and emergency equipment. A clean and organized car makes the journey so much more comfortable for everyone.

Wiper Blades

Check wiper blades for cracks, tears, worn edges or worn-out rubber that could hinder visibility. If they're not clearing the windshield effectively, replace them for better visibility.

Cooper TiresCheck your tread with a US Penny.

Inspect all tires, including the spare, for proper inflation, wear and tear, and any embedded objects. Consult your car's manual for the recommended tire pressure. Uneven or low tire pressure can affect handling and fuel efficiency.

Did you know that proper tread depth helps tires maintain traction and improves handling? When using the penny, know that the tread on your tires should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep. The way you can check is if the top of Lincoln's head is covered by tread, there is at least a minimum acceptable amount of tread. If the top of his head is visible at any point, it is time to replace the tire.

Learn how to check the air pressure in your tires and check it regularly.

Did you know that underinflation of your tires can lead to tire failure, irregular tread wear, and increased vehicle fuel consumption? Checking tire pressure regularly can save you money in the long run. Tire pressure can also change due to the weather so checking pressure when the seasons change is very important. Tire pressure plays a crucial role in the handling of your vehicle.

Tire pressure is also not something that can be visibly assessed and it is important to note that the proper pressure is not on the sidewall of your tire, but rather in your owner's manual or on your car doorjamb. Under-inflated tires can reduce the life of your tires by 9,000 miles and can increase your fuel consumption by 4%. Protect those valve caps as well as they not only keep dirt and moisture out, they also hold air in your tires so make certain that every tire has a cap.

Lights and Electrics.

Turn on all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, and interior lights to ensure they function properly. Replace any burned-out bulbs. Check the horn and windshield wipers for proper operation. Consider replacing worn-out wiper blades for optimal visibility, especially if rain is expected during your trip.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Assemble a kit containing essentials like jumper cables, a flashlight, flares or reflectors, a first-aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and basic tools. Consider adding bottled water, non-perishable snacks, and a blanket for unexpected situations.

Test Drive

Take your car for a short drive to check if everything feels normal, especially the brakes and steering. Pay attention to any unusual noises or vibrations.

Get Tire Smart with Cooper Tires.

It's time to get smart with Cooper Tires because they are the best choice for a quality tire at a great price – and from a company you can trust. Tires are so important in any month because we spend so much time on the road. With three kids, two dogs, and two adults, I need to make certain that all of the precious cargo in the car is well taken care of and I can do this by caring for my car.

Cooper Tires

Getting the car ready for a road trip?

Did you know that only 17% of drivers are considered “tire smart?” At Cooper Tires, they talk tires every day and they want everyone to know how much your tires truly matter. From tread compound to sidewall design from carcass construction to performance metrics and fitments, tires play a crucial role in your car's safety on the road and overall vehicle performance. The Cooper Tires experts offer more than a century of experience in designing and manufacturing tires.

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

Properly caring for your tires is an essential part of automobile ownership. Cooper Tires wants you to know that your car tires matter and that you can protect yourself on your next road trip by following a few simple tips. We hope that this How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip post inspires you. Happy travels!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cooper Tire. The opinions and text are all mine.

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

« Previous PostHow to Avoid Travel-Related Illnesses While on Vacation

Next Post »Unique Groomsmen Gift Ideas Surprise Your Guys on Your Wedding Day

You May Also Like

42 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I always give our car a good once over when the seasons change and before any road trip. You can never be too safe, and you can never forget your tires!

  2. Crystal

    I was the one on the side of the road with a blown-out tire last time I traveled. The tire exploded! Need to get my car ready for Round 2 next week.

  3. Gosh thanks for the reminder. I need to check the tires, with all this summer travel they are sure to have some major wear and tear. Sounds like Cooper Tire is well worth the investment to use for tires!

  4. Meagan

    It is so important to have quality tires. I know that we had to replace all four of ours recently.

  5. Pam Wattenbarger

    Tire pressure is really important to check. It makes a big difference with your gas mileage.

  6. Checking my tires beforehand is a huge priority for me. I found out about some serious issues with my treads right before a big trip one time.

  7. The first thing my husband always does before a road trip is check the tires. We certainly don’t want to get stranded somewhere when a simple check before hand could prevent most tire issues you could have on the road.

  8. Great tips! I do a lot of driving in the summer, and I know how important it can be to make sure your car is taken care of especially tires. I actually need to get some tires on my car, and this is a great reminder.

  9. These are all important tips. It’s also important to know what all the lights mean in your car. Most cars will have a light go on if the tire pressure changes

  10. Most people use Winter tire all through the year, as they usually forget to change it when the season changes. These are really important information. Thanks for sharing.

  11. We do all this and more to prepare! We do a lot of traveling in the summer and like to be safe.

  12. These are really smart tips. It’s never smart to go on a long trip without checking up on your car first!

  13. This born and raised New York City gal does not drive so I know nothing about cars except I like being a passenger! But at least now I have ideas on how to be a safer passenger! 🙂

  14. Misty Nelson Dawn

    What an awesome tips and it’s so important to check up our car and make sure that this is ready for the long travel during this summer

  15. Our Family World

    I have to try that trick using a penny. That’s a pretty cool hack. It is important that we keep our vehicle in tip top shape before heading out to any road trip. Thank you for the reminders.

  16. This is such a great reminder to check your car before you go on vacation. Like a lot of people I usually wait until it’s too late (something goes wrong) to deal with maintaining my car. I know I should do it more often.

  17. It’s so important to keep up with car care. I haven’t heard of Cooper Tires before, but my all season tires are getting old and we are in the market for new tires this fall, and I’ll have to keep these in mind.

  18. It’s super important that we check our tires before we go on a road trip. It’s one of the things that will keep us safe and make the trip hassle free. Sounds like Cooper Tires is thinking of the same thing.

  19. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Tires are always taken for granted. It should not be that way because road safety depends on tire quality. I love the tips you shared in this post. We have road trips scheduled in the following weeks and it is very important that we not only check the car’s engine, oil levels, but the tires as well.

  20. Robin rue

    We have a few short (3 hour) road trips coming up this summer. It’s definitely a good idea to get the car ready before we go!

  21. We always check on the tires and get the oil changed when we go on a trip.  I don’t want to be stuck somewhere because of something I could have prevented!  

  22. My husband is all about the tire pressure. Thanks for these fabulous tips! Happy Summer!!!

  23. Making sure my car is safe for long trips is a huge priority. I think having a clean car tends to make longer trips easier too.

  24. I had never heard of Cooper Tires before but they sound like a fantastic brand. It’s a good idea to get your car checked before any big road trip!

  25. Claudia Krusch

    I always get my oil changed and the car maintenance done before a trip. I like to have it detailed so it is nice and clean for the trip as well.

  26. It is really important to get your car ready for each drastic season change. We do a lot of traveling in the summer so it is time to get our car checked out.

  27. I appreciate these tips so much! We have an older car in our household and it definitely could use a few major mechanical tune ups before taking it anywhere this summer. Checking the tires especially is so important, and something I always forget about, even though we have a digital tire gauge.

  28. My family always takes road trips in the summer. The first thing we do is check the tire pressure!

  29. I actually have them! They are reliable and were a good price.

  30. Amy Desrosiers

    I agree totally! Making sure you have good, filled tires, and oil change, and clean air filter, and clean car interior are super crucial.

  31. I definitely don’t check my tires enough. The tip with the penny is great. I will have to see if I can find a US one.

  32. Sherry

    I must admit I am reactive when it comes to vehicle maintenance. We just recently had to replace the tires on one of our cars.

  33. Kristin

    My husband always makes sure that our tires are good to go before road trips. Safety first! Great list here. 

  34. These are very helpful tips. Thank you, I’ll remember these for our next camping trip.

  35. Melanie

    Prepping for road trips falls into my domain, so this makes for a great checklist for me. I need to start with an oil change, because I know it’s due.

  36. Brianne

    These are such great tips for cars! We take road trips a lot during the summer!

  37. Jennifer G

    These are such amazing tips to get your car ready for summer travel. My husband and kids and I love to go on road trips and I love that these tips prepare you for that too! Time to get things done.

  38. Summer influences you to make a travel plan. It would be unwise if you head out without a right preparation. At first, the vehicle is to be prepared properly. Commonly, its tires, engine oil, brakes, air conditioner, fluids, windshield wipers and air filters are given more preference by professionals while they are conducting checks on it. At the first fuel station, you should fill the tank. You can take an extra tire with you to avoid any unprecedented problem. To fix your own issues, you should carry an emergency kit with you.

  39. Wow! indubitably, this is the best post i’ve read today. I love it.

  40. Well, before heading out on a road trip in hot summer, it is very requisite to keep the vehicle in first-rate shape, so that we won’t spend maximum time under the hood. Yes, for maximum people summer is right time to take a lull from nine-to-five. But if they go for a trip without preparing their vehicle, then they will definitely face various muddles during the ride. The excessive heat of summer will not allow the car to run smoothly without being organized and it may lead to the formation of multiple complications. As precaution is always better than cure, hence we should follow appropriate summer maintenance schedule in order to prepare our car for summer travel.

  41. Emma Megan

    Summer is the travel time. But before leaving for a long road trip in summer we should get our car in top notch shape by following few vehicle maintenance tips. First of all we should check the air conditioning system as it is of utmost importance during summer. If the air conditioning system is not providing us with sufficient cool air, then it must be repaired. We must inspect the level of coolant and antifreeze. At the first fuel station we should fill the tank. Also we should take with us a spare tire to avoid unprecedented problem. We must check the different parts of the car by a qualified mechanic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *