This is the second in a two part series on summer road trips. This article is going to deal with a road trip checklist for getting ready to hit the road, all of which you can do on your own with no mechanic needed. The first part in the series was focused on mechanical upkeep before a road trip, and you can read all about it right here.

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Summertime is a great time for road-trips near and far. Whether you plan to travel a few kilometers or a cross country pilgrimage, you need to ensure your vehicle is road-trip worthy.

Do a walk around

Addressing basic maintenance, like replacing worn out wipers and topping up fluid levels is the first step toward vehicle readiness, this is followed by an oil change and checkup (which we went over in part one). These things are inexpensive and usually a successful DIY moment.

Stay charged

Check your battery to see if corrosion built up over the winter. If so, give your battery terminals a little scrub with water and baking soda to ensure connections are clean and reliable. Here is a walkthrough on how to do it.

Read the rubber

Inspect your tires for adequate tread, and for any tears or bulges in the side wall. Make sure the tire pressures are set to the figures that are printed on the placard on the driver’s door jam, or what’s listed in your car’s owner’s manual. If you need to replace your tires, best to do so before you hit the road with your family.

Pack smart

Before loading up your car, check your vehicle’s load capacity to prevent overloading. On most new cars, the maximum weight allowance is printed on the door placard inside the driver’s door jam. It’s worth noting that each kilogram you add reduces the vehicles fuel economy. Roof-top cargo boxes not in use should be removed for better fuel economy, and if you are packing items on the roof, pack the lightest items to avoid the danger of a roll over.

Track it

GPS navigation system will help you plan your trip to avoid traffic congestion and locate convenient gas stations or restaurants along the way. Traffic-enabled devices can also assist in finding an alternate route or direct emergency services to your location, should you need that.

Be safe

Always follow the rules of the road. Planning your trip to avoid high traffic congestion will get you to your destination safely. Consider driving at night or early in the morning, providing ample time for snack, stretch, and fuel breaks.

Be prepared

Every car should have emergency supplies like a flashlight, blanket, first-aid kit, and some basic tools. Roadside flares, a change of clothes and extra water and snacks are also recommended. We wrote up some ideas for how to make your emergency car kit, you can read it right here.

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