Get that vehicle ready for a road trip.

2014 road trip checklist

Spring has arrived and the driving season has begun. As a result, many Americans are likely planning upcoming road trips.

Instead of paying for the high price of a plane ticket, waiting in security lines and sitting next to a crying baby on a flight, many people will choose to take a road trip in 2014. Life on the road gives drivers and passengers alike  the freedom to enjoy the highway at their own leisure, which is enough to convince anyone to skip flying in a plane.

However, before hitting the road, it’s always important to make sure a vehicle is ready for a long trip.

Practice preventative maintenance
While it’s always a good idea to read a vehicle owner’s manual and follow the suggested maintenance schedule, this goes double in the weeks leading up to a big road trip. Taking a little extra time to ensure a vehicle is up to par and road-ready is far better than having to deal with a breakdown miles away from home.

And as spring is known as the start of the driving season, making sure a vehicle is up to snuff this time of year is always a good idea.

“Your car has gotten you through one of the worst winters in recent memory, working overtime in harsh conditions, but the extreme cold, potholes and road salt have taken a toll,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Since most Americans rely on their vehicles nearly every day to get to work, school and everywhere in between, taking a little time for car care now can save headaches and money in the long run.”

Have a car looked at before leaving
Preventative maintenance will ensure a car is well-maintained. But even still, issues can arise. For peace of mind on the road during a long trip, it’s best to have a car looked at before heading out. Making sure fluids are topped off, an engine is running properly and brake pads are not worn down is worth the trip to the auto body shop.

“It’s never good to gamble with safety when it comes to your vehicle, so if you haven’t had your vehicle checked recently, now is the time to ‘be car care aware’ and get a thorough vehicle inspection including a brake inspection, battery check and tune up,” said White.

Restock emergency kit
When heading out on a road trip, it’s important to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. That means making sure an emergency kit is well-stocked.

Here are some things to include:

  • Water
  • Food
  • Blankets
  • Flashlight
  • First aid supplies
  • Jumper cables

Accessories help with security and storage
Those heading out on a road trip will also want to get some accessories. Things like roof cargo are ideal for opening up more space in a vehicle, while a lockbox is essential in protecting valuable items when far away from home.

Accessories will ensure storage and security needs are met, allowing a driver to sit back and enjoy the ride.

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