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Summer Road Trip? Check These 8 Things Before You Leave

June 16, 2015

Few things are as synonymous with summer as a road trip! When the weather warms up and you’re able to escape the daily grind for a few days to experience the open road, it’s a great feeling! But there’s nothing that can bring your road trip fun to a screeching halt like an unexpected car problem.

Avoid getting sidelined on a steamy highway during your trip by giving your vehicle a thorough inspection to ensure everything is in working condition. Read on for our list of 8 can’t-miss checkpoints for your car:     

Check Your Tires

A good tire inspection will begin with looking at the condition of each tire. Is there uneven tire wear? Are there any bulges or tears in the side walls? Is the tread worn down? You can conduct a simple tread test by sticking a quarter head-first in the groove. If the top of Washington’s head is visible, then you need new tires. If you suspect uneven tire wear it may be time to balance or rotate your tires, or possibly have an alignment service.

Check Your Brakes

If you notice any change in the behavior of your brakes—such as squeaking, requiring more pressure, or vibrating—then it is time for replacement. Your local auto professional can also service your brake fluids if they need to be flushed out and replaced with fresh fluid.  

Check Your Fluids

In addition to replacing your brake fluids from time to time, ensure that all your other fluids are topped off. Everything from oil, to antifreeze, to windshield washer fluid can get low in your car and should be prioritized as one of the first tasks your cross off from your car maintenance inspection checklist.

Check the Battery

Did you know that hot weather can shorten a battery’s life? A professional can check the strength of your battery and its ability to remain charged. You also need to ensure the terminals are free of dirt and corrosion. A little baking soda and water can clean them up.

Check Your Filters

Oxygen is just as important to your car as it is to you. Make certain that your air, engine, fuel, and oil filters are clean before a long trip. You’d get overheated, too, if you were running with a mouth full of cotton.

Check the Oil

The frequency of required oil changes varies from car to car, but is often around 5,000 miles in newer cars (hybrids excluded). Check your owner’s manual for the recommended frequency and always keep an eye on the dated sticker in your windshield that tells you when you will need your next service.

Check your Packing

When all your maintenance checks are complete, you’re ready to begin packing the back. Keep the center of gravity in your car low by placing the heaviest items on the bottom of your pile and pushing them toward the middle of your vehicle. Also, if you’re traveling in a vehicle with an open back end (such as a van or SUV), make sure the lighter items on top are secured so they don’t fly forward in a sudden stop.

Check your Insurance

If your road trip hits an unexpected detour, few things can get you back on track faster than Farm Bureau’s Emergency Roadside Assistance coverage. Our 24/7 dispatch service will send reliable, professional help to get you back on the road quickly. Schedule a SuperCheck with your Farm Bureau agent before your trip to ensure our Roadside Assistance coverage will be there for you when you need it!


Finally, to really set the stage for a fun and carefree summer road trip, be sure to have these 10 songs in your back pocket to jam out to—but keep your eyes on the road!

  1. All the Small Things – Blink 182

  2. Little Red Corvette – Prince

  3. Mambo No. 5 – Lou Bega

  4. Sweet Emotion - Aerosmith

  5. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves

  6. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey

  7. Paradise – Coldplay

  8. Lowrider - War

  9. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen

  10. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynrd Skynrd

What are your favorite summer road trip songs? Comment on our Facebook page with your recommendation!