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How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

Before you and your buddies drive from Boston to Bogota at least make sure your car is in working shape.


  • Step 1: Check tires Check the tire pressure and inspect tires for bubbles, knots, cracks, gouges, and uneven wear.
  • Step 2: Check tire tread & rotate tires Check tire tread with a depth gauge, available at auto supply stores for a few dollars. It will tell you if your tires are bald. Rotate your tires if it�s been a while since you�ve done so.
  • TIP: Traveling in the winter? Consider investing in a pair of tire chains�some mountainous roads even require them.
  • Step 3: Check fluid levels Check your engine fluid levels�oil, brake, power steering, transmission, and coolant. Add fluids as necessary.
  • TIP: If you are getting your oil changed, ask the shop to check your tires and engine fluids.
  • Step 4: Inspect wipers Inspect your wiper blades and replace them if necessary. Top off your windshield wiper fluid and throw the leftover jug in the trunk.
  • Step 5: Visit mechanic Have a mechanic check your battery, spark plugs, and belts, and test your brakes.
  • TIP: If your car is making any strange noises or handles �funny,� pay a mechanic to do a full inspection.
  • Step 6: Pack emergency kit Pack an emergency kit. It should contain nonperishable food like energy bars, water, jumper cables, first aid supplies, a flashlight, and extra engine fluids. Better safe than sorry.
  • FACT: Planning for the interstate highway system started in the 1930s, but it wasn�t officially established until 1956.

You Will Need

  • A tire pressure gauge
  • A tire tread depth gauge
  • Replacement engine fluids
  • A good mechanic
  • Emergency supplies
  • Snow chains (optional)

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