Preparing for a Road Trip

When you're getting ready for a road trip, your thoughts may initially jump to snacks, games, and music for the journey. It's important to make the trip fun, but don't forget to plan ahead for your car, too!

Before you do anything else, you need to be sure that your car can make the trek. You can check a lot of these yourself, like your vehicle's oil and tire pressure, but to be safe, you should bring your car into an auto shop for a mechanic to check. He or she can make sure that not only are your oil levels and tires good to go but also that all your other fluids, your battery, and your air conditioner, among other parts, are in top condition for your trip.

You should also read over your car's owner's manual before you leave. No matter how long you've had your car, make sure you know how to troubleshoot basic issues that may come up. Familiarize yourself with the correct way to change your tire-including knowing exactly where the spare tire is-and how and where to top off all of your car's fluids, for example. You may not have ever had to change your own tire, but learning how before you leave will help you keep a level head and get back on the road quickly if an emergency occurs.

Finally, make sure your car trunk is well-stocked with emergency items. A good car emergency kit will contain a flashlight, jumper cables, a first-aid kit, and tools for changing a tire at the very least. It's also wise to include bottles of water, blankets, flares, and a portable charger. Hopefully circumstances won't require the use of these things, but it's always best to be safe rather than sorry.

Once you've made these preparations for your car, go ahead and take care of the next important, often more-difficult steps: making playlists and buying snacks that the whole car will enjoy!

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