Get your vehicle ready for a road trip!

Get your vehicle ready for a road trip!

It’s time to plan your route, pack your bags and pile in the car. But before you do any of that, make sure your vehicle is ready for the journey. Let’s take a closer look at everything you’ll need for a road trip to remember.

Let’s take a closer look at everything you’ll need for a road trip to remember.

BT SUMMER masthead 3

Can my car handle a road trip?Can my car handle a road trip?

Don’t set out on the scenic byways without making sure your car can safely deliver you to your destination. Call or visit your local Belle Tire for a thorough, professional inspection. This handy checklist can help get you started on what to look for.

bald tire

Inspect your tires

Tires connect you to the road so make sure they’re ready for action. If you notice shallow tread depth, worn sidewalls or other signs of distress, consider getting a new set that will best suit the conditions of your route and destination.

Check your brakes

Make sure your brake pads, rotors and fluids are in good condition and will perform when needed. Vehicles weighted down with passengers and luggage demand peak brake performance for added safety.

A Belle Tire tech in a red shirt is inspecting brakes.
Interior view of a black air conditioning vent.

Test your air conditioning

It’s summer, so a functioning A/C should be high on your list. Checking air filters, compressors and refrigerants can help ensure you won’t be sweating it out for long stretches on the highway.

Check lights and blinkers

Check all lights in the front, rear and interior. If any appear dim or dying, check the fuses and/or replace the bulbs.

Light Summer RT
Wipers-summer RT

Inspect wiper blades & top off wiper fluid

For any road trip, it helps to see the road. Wiper blades should be in good shape, and it’s always a good idea to top off your windshield wiper fluid.

Test your battery

We’re positive of one thing: a dead battery on a road trip is negative fun. Take a look for leaks, cracks or bad connections and check its charge. Swing by your local Belle Tire for a FREE battery test.

Battery dying 50 50
Fluid Check Summer RT

Do a fluid check

It’s never a bad idea to make sure all your vehicle’s fluids (water, wiper, transmission and more) are full and fresh. It’s a simple check that can save a lot of headaches later on.

Schedule an oil Change

Driving a long distance? An oil change is a good idea to keep your engine running smoothly. If you think you’ll surpass the mileage for your next scheduled service on your trip, go ahead and get it done before you head out.

A Belle Tire tech in a red shirt and safety glasses is pouring motor oil into
the engine bay.
Alignment bay

Check your alignment

Before you hit the open road, make sure your vehicle is properly aligned. Having your vehicle set in place, your steering wheel centered, and all four wheels set parallel allows you to have a safer driving experience, get better gas mileage and prevent premature tire wear.

Road trip hacksRoad trip hacks

How to get the maximum mpg

When you stop to fill up, take advantage of the station’s free air machine. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in average tire pressure. On a road trip, that adds up fast. Keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation to get the most out of every mile.

How to catch things between the seats

Spend enough time in the car and things are bound to fall between your seats that can easily be grabbed with fingers alone. Bring along a pair of thin salad/toaster tongs to easily grab anything that wedges inself into those impossible-to-reach spaces. 

How to Keep Drink Holders Clean

Easily keep cup holders clean and tidy by utilizing cupcake liners/baking cups. Slip one into each holder and toss them whenever they’ve collected too many crumbs and random debris. 

How To Easily Take out the trash

Plastic cereal containers make a great mini trash receptacle that fits perfectly in the floorboard. Just pop in a small plastic bag and you’re all set to keep the car clean. 

How to keep your car smelling good

Attach a dryer sheet to the sun visor for a cheap, distraction-free air freshener. Traditional car fresheners that hang from rear view mirrors can obstruct sight lines and are now illegal in some states. 

How to keep things contained

Shower caddies with suction cups make great travel companions. Attach them to backseat windows to conveniently secure the kids’ pads, markers, gadgets, snacks and more.

Road trip tips & tricks

  • Spare key
    Spare key

    One of the hardest things to replace far from home is a car key, so be sure to pack your spare and keep it separate from your main key. 

  • Spare tire
    Spare tire

    A spare tire is there to bail you out of a flat tire jam. But if your spare isn’t in good working order, that jam (and your car) isn’t going anywhere without a tow truck. Give it a good check before departure. 

  • Medical bag
    Medical bag

    The glove compartment is the perfect spot for a small bag containing the medical essentials (first aid kit, pain meds, car sickness bag, inhaler, etc). It can literally be a lifesaver. 

  • Hitch basket 2
    Pack smart

    If at all possible, try not to put luggage on top of the vehicle. This hurts the vehicle’s aerodynamics, adds weight and ends up burning more gas. If you have to use the roof, cover and bags with a strong sheet and tie everything down tight. A great, afforadable alternative is a hitch basket that tows behind your vehicle, eliminating drag.

  • TP
    TP is A-OK

    Sometimes nature calls and doesn't care if it’s convenient to answer. Pack a couple of rolls of toilet tissue and keep it handy just in case. 

  • Phone Lock screen
    Cell smarts

    If you lost your phone and it was found by a Good Samaritan, would they be able to contact you? Just change your lock screen to an image that displays emergency contact info, an email address and an alternate phone number. The chances of you getting it back are greatly improved. 

Road trip tips for familiesAre we there yet?

Traveling with kids can be challenging. Here are some ideas to keep them occupied, entertained and looking ahead on your journey.

Road trip bingo 

Pre-trip, make up some bingo cards with things you’re likely to see while driving. Instead of listening for numbers, the little ones have their eyes peeled for things like out-of-state plates, police, planes, cyclists and more.

En route countdown cards 

To help end the barrage of “are we there yet” inquiries, create a road trip countdown with a string and attach some cards listing the places you’ll pass along the way to your destination. When you reach a milestone, remove that card. Best of all, the kids will always know what lies ahead. 

Goodie bags for good behavior

Packing small bags with special treats and snacks can help promote well-behaved passengers. Set a point along the route where the bags will be opened, but only on the condition that the kid has earned it.  

Backseat artistry 

Nothing sparks a kid’s creativity like self expression. Bring along some washable markers and let the kids draw their hearts out on the windows right next to them (but also be sure to bring some window wipes as well). 

Listen and learn

Depending on the age of your kids, they may actually want to pass the time by doing some reading. Unfortunately, reading in a moving car can be a recipe for nauseous disaster. Luckily, audiobooks have never been more plentiful and accessible. Download a few for them on your kids’ devices before you head out.

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