Road Trip Maintenance: Pre and Post-Travel Car Care

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Road Trip Maintenance: Pre and Post-Travel Car Care

road trip maintenance
When you and your family get in the car this summer for the long trip to the beach (or wherever), make sure your car is also “beach body” ready! That is to say, before you hit the open road, your car needs a pre-road trip maintenance workout and post-road trip check-up.

Road Trip Maintenance: Pre and Post-Travel Car Care

Your Basic Pre-Road Trip Car Care Checklist

Engine Oil

Remember seeing your grandpa check the oil? Now it is your turn! Pop the hood of the car, pull out the oil dipstick, wipe it clean, reinsert it and verify the take has proper oil. If it is low, be sure to top it off. In addition, if you are due for a change, make sure you take care of it before you depart.

Glove Box Check

When is the last time you looked in the glove box? Make sure your most recent registration and insurance are easily available in case you need them. Also, make sure your driver’s license is in the wallet and valid!

Tire pressure

Check the decal on the inside of your glove box or look inside the owner’s manual for the recommended tire pressure for your car. Using an air pressure gauge, take a reading of your tires. It will be measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). If it is too low, take your car to a gas station where you can pump air into the tires.

Spare Tire

Make sure you know where it is! Normally it is located beneath the trunk floor. Inspect the spare tire to ensure it is still intact and fully inflated for use.


Check for any flashing or illuminated symbols. Are there any warning lights indicating something is wrong with the battery, engine, coolant, or other parts of the car? If so, do not hit the road until you get those checked by a mechanic!

Post-Road Trip Car Maintenance Tips

Now that you are back from your road trip of a lifetime, you need to follow these tips for post-road trip maintenance! Putting the miles on your car means a lot of wear and tear on your ride. From fluids and worn-down tires, morsels in the backseat, and new dings and scratches on your car, you want to get everything back for the day to day, so your car looks, smells, and rides well.

Clean Your Car’s Interior

You were on the road for several hours (if not longer). Chances are you had a few to-go meals. If you had the kids in tow, there is likely also a bunch of other items spread around the car needing to be cleaned out. Leaving stains and food inside the car will not only make them harder to get out later, but it can leave a horrible smell. Head to your nearest car wash or grab the vacuum cleaner, shampoo, and wipes and get to work.

Clean the Exterior

After giving the interior a once over, move to the exterior of the car. Wash the surface thoroughly and dry it off with a few soft towels.

Check Tire Wear

Using a penny, place it between the tire treads with Lincoln’s head facing downware towards you. If you can see all or most of his head, you will want to purchase new tires to remain safe on the road.

Check Your Fluids

Just as you did when you left for your trip, you need to check your car’s fluids when you get back. This includes your oil, transmission fluid, and even your windshield fluid. If you notice they are low, grab the appropriate type and grade, refill accordingly. If the fluids are discolored in any way, you may need to schedule a service appointment to have them looked at, just in case.

Check the Brakes

Brakes are something you do not want to ignore. After driving for so many miles, it is possible they are worn down. Test the brakes by driving a bit and pressing down on the brake pedal. If you notice any squeaking or grinding, this is a sign you need to have your brakes changed.

Review Car Warning Lights

While your car may have been fine during the road trip, the wear and tear from the long drive could have caused some mechanical issues needing immediate attention. Schedule an appointment with your mechanic right away, if you notice the check engine light is on.
Getting your car maintained before AND after a road trip is important. If you have any questions call Mike at Great Plains Auto Body and Car Care, 4103 Leavenworth Street, 402.551.6000.

Ready to plan a road trip? Here’s a fun trip planning tool.

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