16012303_SWe are excited about the warmer weather and the idea of planning a road trip. Maybe your family already has a fun vacation planned out or perhaps you enjoy the spontaneity of hopping in your car for an unknown adventure. Whichever you prefer, a little preparation comes in handy!

First, dust off the manual and look through the maintenance schedule. If there are things that are due or overdue, such as oil and filter changes, get those done. While you’re at the mechanic, go ahead and have all your car’s fluids topped off. Ask your mechanic to do a complete check of the car with your impending road trip in mind.

Take stock of your tires. Let’s assume they aren’t too old and worn. When you’re on the road for hours at a time, tires get pretty hot and if unbalanced can lead to a blow out. As with other basic and regular upkeep, have your tires balanced and rotated on a schedule. This allows them to wear evenly. Also, don’t forget to make sure the air pressure in your tires is up to the recommended psi.

The car should now be looking good and raring to hit the road, so it’s time to pack a few safety items. An emergency kit is always a good thing to have in the car, but especially handy for long trips.  A tire pressure gauge and a set of jumper cables is never a bad idea either.

Give some thought to navigation too. Many newer cars have a GPS system built in, and smartphones also have mapping features. However, it is wise to know the routes you want to take ahead of time. Are there going to be toll roads along the way? What kind of construction or other delays should you expect? A good old fashioned atlas can take you far when you need to navigate with the bigger picture in mind.

When you crave adventure via the open road, take some measures to be sure you’re safe and prepared. Use these tips to help you get ready and then enjoy the road trip!