Preparing Your Vehicle For A Summer Road Trip

Vehicle awaiting roadside assistance in wooded area

If you’re planning an exciting road trip over the summer this year, between planning and packing, remember to get your vehicle ready, too. Nothing slows down a trip like needing a tow because your vehicle’s broken down. Below are a few suggestions for what to check when you’re getting your vehicle tuned-up for the trip.


The first part of getting your car tuned-up for a road trip is changing the oil. Most vehicles need an oil change every few months or at a certain mileage. If your vehicle is nearing its next oil change date, make sure that it is changed, even if it’s slightly ahead of schedule. Whether you do it yourself or use a service, make sure a few other fluids are checked during your oil change as well. These include your vehicle’s brake fluid, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid.


Getting your oil changed is also a great opportunity to check for coolant leaks in your vehicle. Check your engine oil dipstick and if there are light colored streaks there with a yellow or greenish color, a coolant leak could be the problem. Another way to detect coolant leaks is by smell. If you notice a sweetish scent when your vehicle’s engine is warm, it could be an indicator of a leak. If your car or truck doesn’t have any problems with leaking coolant, just check that the coolant is at an appropriate level for your vehicle.


Before you go, it’s a good idea to get your vehicle’s battery checked in addition to its fluids. Car batteries are often made to last for years, but having one die during a trip can be stressful. The unexpected expenses of having your vehicle towed and purchasing a new battery can also become an unwanted bump in the road on your trip. To avoid such a situation, get your battery tested. Many auto parts stores and mechanics offer battery testing.

Spark Plugs

Another issue that may not be immediately apparent is faulty spark plugs. If you vehicle is having trouble starting, or if it’s having difficulty idling, spark plugs may be the issue. When checking your vehicle’s spark plugs, there are a few issues that can be detected just by looking. Check for residue on the plugs. Corrosion could also cause problems. In addition, check for gaps between the electrodes. If any of these issues are present, you may need to replace the spark plugs, or it may be possible to repair them.


One of the most important things to check on your vehicle before a trip is the brakes. Having your vehicle’s brakes fail can have disastrous results. No one wants to risk an accident any time, and during a trip is no exception. Most mechanics and auto repair shops offer inexpensive brake checks that include an entire system and brake line examination to make sure that nothing is damaged, worn out, or a potential danger.

Need more information for your vehicle tune-up before a trip? Contact Will Tow, located in San Marcos, TX.

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