10 Must-Check Road Trip Essentials Before Departure

Are you preparing to head out on a really long road trip? Then you need to make sure that you don’t just rush your preparations, and take care of everything that is necessary. Having your car break down when you are in your neighborhood is an issue. If this happens when you are miles away from home, it is bound to be a real problem and get scary. If you are heading out for a vacation, the main idea is to relax and have fun, not to worry about your car. Here are 10 road trip essentials which are important that you check before heading out on a long road trip.

Road Trip Essentials
Photo on Flickr by Jordi Payà / CC BY-SA 2.0

Top 10 Road Trip Essentials

Tires and wheels

You need to make sure that the wear on your tires is even. If it isn’t, then it might mean that a tire is under or over inflated, a suspension or steering component is shabby, or your wheel isn’t properly aligned. Also, every tire must have an appropriate thread. The legal limit 1 mm, but everything under 3 mm can present an issue. Furthermore, every wheel needs to be fastened securely. You need to make sure that you have an extra wheel packed with you as well.

Road Trip Essentials

Chains and belts

Check whether all the chains and belts are properly connected to the alternator, fan, cam and other car parts. If a chain or a belt is broken, it can present you with a problem along the road. It may even lead to serious engine damage, so make sure that you take care of it before heading out.

Necessary supplies

You need to have necessary supplies with you if there is an accident. An emergency kit is certainly a must. It needs to include a first-aid kit, a flashlight, a blanket and necessary tools. It might also be a good idea to bring along extra water and snacks.

Road Trip Essentials

Fluids and filters

For your car to work the best, you need to be certain that all the filters are clean and working properly. These road trip essentials include fuel, oil and air filters. Check whether all the fluids are at proper levels. Make sure that all fuel, oil and air systems don’t have any leaks, and fix them if they do. If you need to change the oil filter, you need to drain the old oil first and then get it replaced.

Safety equipment

In the case that your car does break down, you need to have a reflective triangle that you can place to warn other drivers. It is a common case among drivers that they think that their car’s emergency indicators are enough. What they don’t have in mind is the fact that these may not be visible in particular conditions. Furthermore, they may not work due to electrical issues.


All your brake discs, pads and drums need to be in good condition. The wear needs to be even as well. An emergency stop test might be a good idea to be really sure that everything is working well. If there are unusual vibrations and noises coming from the braking system, it means that something is wrong. Make sure that the brake fluid level is at the top.

Road Trip Essentials


Your car’s suspension systems need to be keeping the tires tightly on the ground. If your car rolls a lot at corners, stops after a longer distance, and has a ride quality that is harder than usual, it is a sign that certain suspension parts such as struts or shocks need a replacement.


All your headlights need to be properly adjusted, so that light beams provide you with the right viewing distance. They mustn’t be set too much upwards because that way they will cause issues for other vehicles coming towards you. All the bulbs in your car must work, in order for everyone to be able to see you, that you can see, and that you can clearly show what you intend to do in traffic.

Road Trip Essentials

GPS navigation system

It is a good idea to use a portable GPS navigation system, as it is a great help for knowing where you are going. It makes it much simpler for you to locate gas stations and restaurants where you might want to make a stop. There are also traffic-enabled devices which can let you know about the situation on the road, and inform you if there is an alternate road to follow. Furthermore, a GPS navigation system can help emergency services find you if you get into trouble.

Road Trip Essentials

Have your car checked

If you don’t have that much experience with your car, then it might be a good idea to schedule a checkup at your local auto service. Auto service professionals will help you out with all the necessary tasks that you might be unsure how to do yourself, and make sure that your car is in top shape.

In summation

Going on a long trip requires that you are prepared. Make sure that you have these 10 road trip essentials in check before heading out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

About Ian Pearson

Aside from primary area of interest and expertise in business consulting, Ian could be tagged also as a passionate sports fan, nature and photography enthusiast, always trying to keep up to date with tech innovations and development, with a particular interest in trying to master the fine art of Social intelligence.

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