It’s important to consider the health of your automobile; considering it’s the vessel that gets you from point A to point B, it makes sense to invest in it for the long-term.

What if you want to really get some traveling in with your car? When you don’t take care of your car, it’s not going to last for longer distances. That’s why performing car maintenance for a safe road trip is vital for anyone who is about to go on the road.

When a car is dependable, there’s no need to worry about it when you’re taking it out for an adventure. While there’s always a tow service available if something does happen, it’s good to resort to that as the last option.

Even if you’re not familiar with how a car runs, you can take this checklist to your dealership or local shop and make sure that a professional gets your car ready to go for that big annual road trip. Here’s a car maintenance checklist for a safe and happy road trip, courtesy of Popular Mechanics.


The lifeblood of any car, getting service intervals on the six essential fluids used to run your car can help ensure that your car is ready to take on a big road trip at any given time. The fluids you’re going to need to know includes:

  • Oil – What you need to run an engine efficiently. Remember that your oil should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
  • Radiator Fluid – Without the radiator working right, your engine cannot cool properly. This can be disastrous fast, especially if you’re traveling under dense heat.
  • Brake Fluid – If there’s no brake fluid, your brakes aren’t going to work right. This liquid helps make sure that your brakes slow down and stop when they need to.
  • Power Steering Fluid – If your power steering fluid is contaminated, it could draw problems with your entire steering wheel. That’s why it’s important to replace it every 24,000 miles.
  • Transmission Fluid – Without your transmission working right, your car isn’t going to properly shift into gears smoothly. Fortunately, most maintenance for this doesn’t start until 60,000 miles.
  • Windshield Fluid – If your windshield gets dirty, you’re going to need to clean it. This stuff is standard with a road trip.


Just as much as the internal parts of your car, your tires also matter when it comes to speed, smoothness, fuel efficiency and overall safety on the road. It’s always important to check on the air pressure every 1,000 miles and rotate the tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tires that aren’t at the right air pressure and rotation are going to waste a ton of gas. If your tires have anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 miles on them, depending on the tire brand, you’re going to need a replacement before embarking on a road trip.

That being said, always check your tires for imperfections. If you see any bulges or punctures, get them replaced as soon as possible. Tires are really the backbone of the car. You can always have a running engine, but without good tires, that engine can’t go anywhere.

General Maintenance

While fluids and tires are the bare minimum to check before going on a road trip, there are other factors to consider in order to ensure you have the safest and most efficient drive possible. Always check brake pads, air filters, light bulbs, and belts or hoses before getting on the road. Getting the most out of your drive requires these things.

Before you set out, make sure you’ve gone over your Auto Insurance policy and confirmed that you have full coverage for anything that may happen on the road. Enjoy your trip!

About Thayer Innes and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agencies

At Thayer-Innes Insurance Agency and Freeman Bunting Insurance Agency, we strive to provide comprehensive insurance solutions to support Ann Arbor homeowners. Our homeowners’ policies can be tailored to meet your specific risk exposures and provides much more coverage than a traditional policy, giving you the peace of mind you deserve. For more information about our products, contact us today at (855) 395-6316.