Federal Way Automotive Repair Logo - Login
(253) 922-7200
Preparing for a Road Trip
Home » Articles » Preparing for a Road Trip: Essential Checks for Reliability

Preparing for a Road Trip: Essential Checks for Reliability

Ensuring a Smooth Journey

Planning a road trip involves more than just mapping out your route and packing your favorite snacks; it’s about ensuring your vehicle is up to the task. The last thing you want is for car troubles to put a damper on your adventure. That’s why preparing your vehicle for the journey is just as important as packing your suitcase. In this guide on preparing for a road trip, we’ll explore crucial vehicle checks and tips that go beyond the usual advice. We aim to provide unique insights to make your road trip smooth and memorable. Let’s ensure your vehicle is as ready for adventure as you are!

Essential Pre-Trip Vehicle Checks Before Getting on the Road

Tires: Ensuring Safety and Efficiency on the Road

  • Check tire pressure against the vehicle’s recommended levels, usually found on a sticker inside the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual.
  • Perform the penny test for tread depth: Insert a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down; if you can see all of Lincoln’s head, replace your tires.
  • Inspect for damage: Look for any signs of sidewall damage or irregular wear, which might necessitate tire alignment or replacement.

Brakes: Reliable Stopping Power

  • Inspect brake pads for wear; replace if they are less than a quarter-inch thick.
  • Listen for unusual sounds when braking, such as grinding or squeaking, which can indicate worn pads or rotors.
  • Check brake fluid level and condition; replace if the fluid is dark or dirty.

Vehicle Fluids: Help Protect Vital Components

  • Engine oil: Check the level and change the oil if it’s dirty or if it’s been a while since the last change. Oil should be amber in color and free of debris.
  • Coolant: Ensure levels are sufficient to avoid overheating.
  • Other fluids: Check and top up brake fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield washer fluid as necessary.

Lights and Signals: Clear Communication

  • Functionality check: Ensure that headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals are all operational.
  • Visibility test: Conduct tests in various lighting conditions to ensure all lights are clear and visible.

Additional Vehicle Checks When Preparing for a Road Trip

Battery: Powering Your Road Trip Adventures

  • Check battery charge using a voltmeter.
  • Inspect for corrosion on terminals and clean with a baking soda and water mixture if necessary.
  • Ensure tight connections and consider a professional test if the battery is over three years old.

Air Conditioning: Maintaining Comfort Throughout Your Trip

  • Test the cooling efficiency of the AC system and consider servicing if performance has declined.

Alignment and Suspension: Smooth Sailing on Varied Terrains

  • Inspect alignment and suspension if your vehicle pulls to one side or if the ride has been bumpier or noisier than usual.

Belts and Hoses: Avoiding Unexpected Breakdowns

  • Inspect belts and hoses for signs of wear or damage such as cracks or frays to prevent engine damage and breakdowns.

Start Your Adventure with Confidence

By following these pre-trip checks, you can greatly reduce the chances of vehicle troubles on your road trip. Remember, if you have any doubts about your vehicle’s readiness, it’s wise to have a professional inspection. For those in the Federal Way area, consider scheduling a visit to Federal Way Automotive for a comprehensive check-up. Start your adventure with confidence and enjoy a worry-free journey!



Phone Number

(253) 922-7200

Hours of Operation

9 AM-5 PM | Monday-Friday

Location Address

8116 Pacific Hwy E
Tacoma, WA 98422

SAVE $25.00

Save on your next Oil Change

Offer Expires 3/31/2024 – Register for your coupon below.  Coupon must be present at the time of service. Check your SPAM.

Instagram Raffle

Qualify by midnight on 3/30/2024 and we’ll automatically add you into the raffle for 1 – FREE OIL CHANGE!

Qualification Requirements:

  • Follow @federalwayauto
  • Repost one of our post to your story
  • Tag 3 people on this post

We’ll announce the winner on 3/31/2024!