Don’t let emergency breakdowns spoil your vacation! Get your vehicle road trip ready with this handy pre-trip checklist.
This post is sponsored by ACDelco, but all text and opinions are mine.
So you have done the pre-planning, conducted your research, and designed the perfect itinerary for your road trip, but have you forgotten something?
With your logistics in perfect order, take care not to overlook the mechanics of the vehicle set to carry you to those amazing destinations. Preventive maintenance will not only help ensure that you have a safe, enjoyable journey, but it will increase the longevity of your vehicle, as well.
That is why ACDelco enlisted Backroad Planet to help you get your vehicle road trip ready.
Whether you are a backyard mechanic like Jerry who can do the work yourself, or a novice like me who prefers to let the professionals do the work, ACDelco Auto Parts Stores and Service Centers can help you out.
Either way, this handy checklist will help you cover all the bases.
Table of Contents
- 1 Road Trip Ready Checklist
- 2 Quality Parts
- 3 Find Auto Parts
- 4 Find a Service Center
- 5 We Would Love to Hear from You!
- 6 Pin This Post!
- 7 Helpful Links
Road Trip Ready Checklist
Vehicle Preventive Maintenance
Perform the following inspections according to your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual maintenance schedules. or take your vehicle to an ACDelco Auto Service Center for professional care.
☐ Check fluid levels: oil, transmission, brakes, power steering, windshield washer, and coolant.
☐ Check belts and hoses.
☐ Check brakes and lights.
☐ Check wiper blades.
☐ Check the pressure of all tires, including the spare.
Before You Leave . . .
☐ Plan your route and leave a copy of your itinerary with a relative or neighbor.
☐ Make sure your trunk has a jack, lug wrench, and other tools you’ll need to change a tire.
☐ Carry a flashlight with extra batteries, emergency reflectors, and sunglasses.
☐ Pack a vehicle tool kit and additional emergency items.
☐ Assemble and pack a vehicle first aid kit (suggested items).
☐ Take your driver’s license and vehicle registration, plus auto and medical insurance cards.
☐ Carry a spare set of vehicle keys.
☐ Always keep at least half a tank of gas in your vehicle.
(Download a printable PDF of the Road Trip Ready Checklist!)
ACDelco is the premier supplier of Original Equipment on all General Motors vehicles, meaning that every GM vehicle that rolls off the line is outfitted with ACDelco parts. Replacing worn equipment on any GM vehicle with ACDelco parts is the best way to restore it to like-new condition. Even if you do not drive a GM make, ACDelco provides high-quality parts for all major vehicle systems, including:
- batteries (“free-replacement” limited warranty)
- spark plugs
- oil filters
- air filters
- wiper blades
- and 90,000 more parts across 37 product lines.
Find Auto Parts
If you are able to do your own repairs and maintenance, there are two ways to acquire ACDelco parts:
ACDelco Auto Parts Store Locator
Enter your zip code or city and state into the Auto Parts Store Locator to find the outlet nearest you that carries quality ACDelco parts.
Order ACDelco Auto Parts Online
Selecting the part you need from the drop-down menu of the Order Auto Parts Online page will direct you to authorized ACDelco Auto Parts Affiliates who will ship parts to your address.
Find a Service Center
ACDelco Auto Repair Locator
Enter your zip code or city and state into the Auto Repair Locator to find an Independent Service Center that features ACDelco parts.
Professional service centers can help you be sure your vehicle is ready for your next road trip by checking wipers, brakes, and your battery’s remaining charge. Should your vehicle require service, an ACDelco professional service center technician can recommend the correct replacement parts.
Visit ACDelco.com for more information on parts, service, and care care tips.
We Would Love to Hear from You!
Jerry and I enjoy dialogue with our readers, especially when they share road trip tips. If you can recommend road trip routes, destinations, or resources, we would love to hear from you. We invite you to leave your comments and questions below, and we always respond!
Pin This Post!
The Ultimate Road Trip Planner: Part 1 Pre-Planning
The Ultimate Road Trip Planner: Part 2 Research
The Ultimate Road Trip Planner: Part 3 Itinerary
ACDelco Auto Parts Store Locator
Order ACDelco Auto Parts Online
ACDelco Service Center Locator
Focus on your driving, as well as the vehicle behind you, in front of you, and to either side of you; make sure that your rear-view mirror and side mirrors are adjusted. Thanks
Thanks for the driving tips, Blaine!
Buying your own parts and installing the ones you’re able to do yourself will save you SO MUCH money in the long run. Even if you don’t know how to do everything, knowing how to do one or two things will make a mechanic THINK you know enough that they’re less likely to rip you off.
Excellent tips to add to the list, Graham! Thanks for sharing!
It’s easy to forget all the things you should check before going on a long trip, but having this checklist handy will take the time and stress out of remembering each and every task. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks, Heather! Glad to help. 🙂
This is a great list of things to look at before taking your car on a long trip. No one wants to get stuck on the side of the road!
Thanks, Brian! Glad to help!
I loved this post. These are some fabulous tips to enjoy a road trip without any hick ups. It is always better to be prepared in advance rather than facing issues at the last minute. Checking tyre pressure, checking brakes and lights and checking fluid levels are the key to ensuring one has a stress free road trip.
Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep Posting and Keep Sharing…. 🙂
Thanks, Cortney! Stress-free road trips are the best!
My husband and I are taking the rest of the summer off and are going on a cross-country road trip. Thanks for the advice about finding auto parts so that you can do maintenance. We’ll have to find a place to buy parts specific to our car online. Hopefully, nothing goes wrong and we can have a lot of fun.
Glad to help, Sarah! Have a wonderful trip!
So many random things can go wrong on the road … thanks for this list!
So true, Alanna. Glad to help!
Great road tips there Howard, I am planning on a road trip sometimes next week and had to look online to see some tips, glad yours were very helpful. After learning some DIYs I can now check and fix some of these things by myself. Thanks a lot for sharing them.
Thanks so much, Cindy! Glad to help.
Fantastic post! I’m hopefully heading off to drive around Australia in the next 4-6 weeks. I’ve done crazy amounts of research about pretty much every possible aspect of road tripping… except for prepping the vehicle before heading off :/ So this came at a great time, and I’ll definitely be saving it for future reference!
Much appreciated – you’ve saved me hours of trying to find easy-to-understand info on this topic.
Wow! Thanks for your kind words, Phoebe. Glad we could provide the information you needed. I can say I am a wee bit envious of your Australia road trip, but hope you have the best time ever!
Test the integrity of the battery as well … got screwed by that before on day#1 of a trip … not fun!
Excellent tip, Brittany! Thanks for the reminder.
Great post! This will be really helpful, especially when summer comes!
I love doing road trips, especially across the West Coast! Those long distances really have taken a toll on my car – so it’s good to perform routine checks like this one! I don’t carry an extra half tank of gas though! That’s a brilliant idea! I’ll make sure to look for a local ACDelco before my next trip.
I love having your West Coast road trip posts on our Roadtripping the Planet Pinterest board, Francesca. Still not sure how I feel about carrying around extra gas, though. I think it might be smelly and also be a fire hazard.
It sounded like a fire hazard to me too! But I remember my dad used to have one on hand when I was a kid… perhaps they have some kind of “hazard proof” gas tanks? Haha another thing to research for the future!
Great post Howard.
Lots of great tips. Bringing a spare key is so important. When I’m going on a road trip I always bring my spare key and leave it on my person. I would also look into services like CAA. In Canada for a monthly fee CAA can come and tow you car back home for X amount of km’s based on your plan should something happen to your car. This of course depends on how far you road trip will be taking you….
The spare key is a great tip, Christopher! As I mentioned in another comment, I am a member of AAA (which I assume is similar to CAA). I haven’t need their services often, but it is nice to know they are there should I need them.
That would be really sad if you went on a road trip and you have car trouble. Its best to be prepared and check that the car is 100 percent ready. That way, you can have a stress free roadtrip.
Well summarized, Karla! 🙂
Great advice on getting a vehicle road trip ready. I have done many road trips and almost always have issues if I don’t get things checked out before I go.
Also everyone should know how to change a car tire.
I agree, Jennifer! Even though I have been a AAA member for years and have virtually no mechanical skills, I am glad I do know how to change a tire.
Definitely printing this out! It’s no fun having a car break down and not being prepared. But it’s even worse when you have children in the car. We are extra careful now. Thanks for the tips.
Very cool, Christina! Glad the Road Trip Ready checklist helped you out!
The US has a much stronger driving mentality than over here in the UK. Great advice for me if I ever get to do that road trip across the States that all Brits dream about
Haha! True, Fiona! Brits dream of driving Route 66 and reliving Americana.
It’s so wish to check your car every time you set out on a trip. You never know what might have been removed or misplaced in between trips. It’s no fun to discover the jack is missing when you need it.
Agreed! No one likes unexpected surprises.
Living in Singapore I haven’t owned a car in a long time. This is such a useful guide for when I return to the real world and own my own rather than always renting when I go on road trips
Glad to help, Mar, although living in Singapore would definitely be a consolation for not owning a car. 🙂
I don’t own a car and we usually hitchhike everywhere, but I guess preparing a road trip takes a lot of effort and planning. Great you have included this useful check list!
My dad was a mechanic, so my brother and I had to have lessons on maintaining our cars, and things to look at before long trips (which was often as we lived in the country). His biggest advise was pack a few litres of water and a small jerry can of fuel, both of which did come in handy on many an occasion. Awesome post, these things we often take for granted.
Excellent, Anna! Thanks for sharing the extra tips. Those would be especially useful when driving to remote destinations.