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5 Summer Road Trip Tips

Car leaving for a long road trip

Taking a Road Trip? Follow These 5 Tips before Leaving Home

Summer is a great time for a road trip! No matter where your final destination is, these 5 road trip tips from FIXD Mechanic Paul will help you get there safely and smoothly.

Tip #1: Check Tires

Two of the most important things to check for before leaving the driveway are tire dry rot and tire pressure. Take a look at the wheel well for signs of cracking that could lead to safety issues. Also be sure to check the tire treads for signs of wear. Make sure your tires are nice and aired up by checking the tire pressure. If you’re not sure what to inflate your tires to, check inside the driver’s door for a sticker with tire pressure guidelines.

(RELATED: How to do the Penny Test for your tires)

Tip #2: Check Your Vehicle’s Fluids

Never leave for a longer drive without checking your car’s oil level. Most cars on the road have a dipstick to check oil level; however, many newer vehicles do not. If your car has a dipstick, be sure the oil level is between the minimum and maximum points. If you do need more oil, make sure you pour in a little at a time to avoid overfilling the reservoir.

Second thing to check is your coolant level. As your engine heats up, coolant flows through your engine tank to cool it. The coolant tank provides your car with more coolant as it evaporates to keep your engine from overheating. If you’re topping off your coolant level, be sure that the coolant you’re using is made for your vehicle. The same goes for your engine oil since there are different oil weights and viscosity for different vehicles.

Before starting a long road trip, the last thing you’ll want to check is your car’s washer fluid and power steering fluid. If your washer fluid falls below recommended levels, a warning light will pop up on the dash. Top it off and you’re good to go. Power steering fluid is checked the same way as your oil dipstick. Unscrew the cap and keep your power steering fluid between the minimum and maximum recommended levels.

Been awhile since your last oil change? FIXD can help you keep track of routine maintenance with automated alerts sent to your phone. The FIXD live data feature lets you check engine coolant temperatures, fuel trims, and more so you can make sure your vehicle is performing at its best before leaving for your destination.

Tip #3: Scan Your Car for Issues

For this step, you’ll need an OBD2 scanner like FIXD. Simply plug the scanner into your OBD2 port usually located beneath the dash and scan for check engine lights and other issues. It’s always best to do this before your trip so you can take care of any problems and avoid a breakdown.

(RELATED: Where Is My OBD2 Port?)

Tip #4: Wash and Wax Your Car

This might seem obvious, but protecting your paint job will make it a lot easier to care for your car when you get back from a long trip. All those bug guts on the windshield and body of your car will come off more smoothly when you’ve taken the extra time to wash and wax your car.

Just make sure you use a wash that’s specifically designed for use with cars and avoid dishwashing detergent. Go ahead and clean out the interior of your car while you’re at it to make sure everyone is comfy and clean on your summer road trip.

Tip #5: Find a Good Summer Road Trip Playlist

One must-have for a fun road trip (especially if you’re like me and travelling with a toddler whose favorite question is “are we there yet?”) is GOOD MUSIC. So grab your favorite CDs or load up your phone with all your favorite songs before leaving home.

And while you’ve got your phone handy, don’t forget to download FIXD. With the FIXD diagnostic sensor and OBD2 app, you can be confident your family will enjoy a safe, stress-free summer road trip. FIXD not only tells you what your check engine light means in plain English, but it also sends you automated maintenance alerts, tracks the wear of your tires, wipers, and battery for you, and helps you find a trustworthy repair shop – no matter where you are in the U.S.

FIXD Maintenance Log

Make Your Road Trip a Safe and Happy One with These 5 Tips!

Hopefully these 5 tips help you enjoy a safe, fun summer road trip. Where are you headed and how has FIXD helped you on the road? Let us know in the comments below!


Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.

We’re here to help you simplify car care and save, so this post may contain affiliate links to help you do just that. If you click on a link and take action, we may earn a commission. However, the analysis and opinions expressed are our own.


About the Author

Kate McKnight

Kate McKnight

Wife, mom, Content Manager & Senior Copywriter at FIXD. From the garage to the gym, I love helping people learn and grow. Dream car: ‘69 Acapulco Blue Mustang.

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