Is Your Car Ready For A Long Family Car Trip This Summer?

Long car trips are a part of a grand tradition in the world of family vacations. Of course, fun on the open road can easily turn into an epic disaster if you fail to prepare. Before you leave with the kids, follow these packing and maintenance tips to get your car ready for the journey.

Perform Regular Car Maintenance

Before you embark on your long car ride, take your vehicle to an auto repair shop like Soundside Automotive for a tune-up and inspection.

  • Get windshield wipers replaced. You should change your windshield wipers once annually, or every 6 months. If it's time to get your wipers replaced again, do it before your trip.
  • Have brakes, tires and filters inspected. This is especially important if you'll be traveling through mountainous or hilly areas.
  • Perform oil change. Even if it's not quite time to get your oil changed yet, estimate the number of miles you'll be traveling and determine if your next scheduled oil change will fall while you're on your trip. If it does, better to be safe and have the oil changed before you go.
  • Check timing belt. If your car has a timing belt that is nearing the end of its lifespan, have it inspected before it's time to leave, and replace it if necessary.

Pack Emergency Supplies

Never leave on a long trip with children without packing some emergency supplies in the car, including:

  • Water. Try to match the amount of water you keep in the car to the number of people you'll be traveling with.
  • Blankets. Travel with at least one blanket per family member.
  • Flashlight. Check the batteries before heading out.
  • Car jack and spare. Check for these in the hidden compartment inside the trunk.
  • Vomit bag. Keep this in the cab with you, not in the trunk.

Pack Family-Friendly Accessories

Keeping these accessories on hand is nearly as important as keeping emergency supplies in the trunk. These supplies will help prevent bickering among family members and will also prevent the kids from getting bored.

  • Car organizers. Organizers that fit over the back of the seat can prevent the kids from making a mess in the back. Car organizers may also prevent kids from encroaching on one another's space.
  • Travel pillows. Pack one travel pillow per child. Travel pillows take up less room than normal pillows and will help your kids stay comfortable.
  • Car games. Pack car games to keep the kids entertained for long stretches of time. Keep a variety on hand.

Preparing your car for a long journey can help make your family road trip successful this summer. With luck and careful planning, your trip should be a success.