road trip

Summer is finally here, and like most Minnesotans, you’re ready to hit the road and explore this summer. Whether you’re driving an hour to the cabin or across the country, the last thing you want to experience is car trouble on vacation. You’ll want to take some time before you get the car packed up to make sure that everything is in working order. If you’re looking for a list of things that need to be checked, then we’ve got you covered with our road trip checklist, so keep reading.

Check your battery

You’ll want to make sure your battery is in good shape before hitting the road. You can do a simple check to make sure your connections are tight and your battery is corrosive free. Your battery contains corrosive acid that could leak if your battery connections are forced off, so if you’re unfamiliar with how to check and clean, it’s a good idea to leave that to the professionals. Your battery should be checked annually after 2 years.

Belt & Hoses

Your belts and hoses are critical to keeping electrical, power steering, and cooling systems functioning properly. We recommend having them inspected to determine if they are frayed or cracked. These should be tightly installed, so ask your mechanic to verify that they are secure and don’t have a large amount of slack. You’ll also want to inspect hoses for any leaks and drips. Check your owner’s manual for how often belts and hoses need to be replaced – some cars recommend replacement every 60,000 miles.

Lights and electrical equipment

You’ll want to check to make sure the interior and exterior lights are working properly. Replace any burned out bulbs. While you’re checking headlights, taillights, and interior lights, it’s also a good idea to check your windshield wipers. You’ll probably need a new pair every 6 months so if it’s been a while since your last new pair, now is a great time to replace. You’ll also want to check your AC system. If your AC is not blowing cold air like it has in the past, it’s a good idea to have it serviced before you hit the road.

Brake check before your Road Trip

Your brakes are essential to the safety of you and your family when in the car. Squealing noises coming from your brakes may indicate worn brake pads. Other warning signs that indicate it’s time to have your mechanic look at your brakes include: spongy pedal when you press down, pulling to one side when braking, and a shaking brake pedal. If you notice these signs or any other odd noises when braking, it’s a good idea to have them inspected by a professional mechanic.


Improper tire pressure can cause uneven tire wear, wear and tear on your brakes and suspension, and add stress to your engine. When your tire pressure is low, it can leave your tires susceptible to blowouts, and decrease your fuel economy by 1 %. To be safe, you’ll want to check your tire pressure and ensure it’s filled to manufacturer recommended levels before you hit the road. You can find the correct air pressure levels on the manufacturer’s sticker on the driver side door jam, in your owner’s manual, and sometimes on your tires.

You’ll also want to make sure your tires are rotated before you hit the road. In front and rear wheel drive vehicles, the wheels that receive the power can wear more quickly. Getting your tires rotated can promote even wear on your tires and should be performed every 5,000 – 8,000 miles.

Top off your fluids

One last thing to check before hitting the road this summer? You’ll want to top off your fluids. You’ll want to start with a fresh oil change. After that, check your power steering fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and even your windshield washer fluid. Ensuring these are filled to the proper levels will make your trip more enjoyable.

After checking these items, you’ll gain peace of mind that your car is ready to take you wherever the road may lead you. If you’re ready to have a mechanic inspect and get your car road trip ready, our team is ready to help. Just make an appointment and we’ll get you back to fun on the road in no time.