The Complete and Essential Car Checklist for Your Next Road Trip

The wind is rustling in the trees, the sun is rising just a little bit earlier every day and you’re tired of hauling yourself to work every morning for your share of your daily bread.

And when you step out into your balcony with your cup of coffee, you can’t help but breathe in the floral notes on the air and gaze longingly at your car that’s been waiting to leave home and go across the final frontier.

If you can picture yourself as you read this article, you know it’s time. It’s time to pick up your music, a case of water (and maybe the leftovers from last night’s dinner!), put the pedal to the metal and zoom off into the melting horizon.


No. Not so much.

As bonafide lifelong car enthusiasts and road trippers, we can tell you with every surety that a road trip needs thinking, planning and supplies.

But who needs all that planning, man? you might be inclined to say.

Anyone who doesn’t want to be towed back home in the middle of the night from the middle of nowhere, as far as we’re concerned.

Look. We’re not asking you to stop being spontaneous. All we’re saying is that before you run off into the wild, make sure you’ve done your homework.

So, we’ve created a checklist for you keep handy. Refer to it, plan with it, stick it to your windshield – do with it what you will as long as you make sure you’ve got everything squared away.

The Road Trip Checklist

It goes without saying that your set of wheels makes all the difference between a successful road trip and a stressful one.

Here’s how you get started:

1. Car Health – You may be really great about having your car serviced at regular intervals, however, do a really quick run-through before you out on the road. Double check your tyres for air pressure and tread depth and top up all your fluids like the coolant, washer fluid and engine oil.
2. Car Electronics – Take a few moments to ensure all your electronics are working properly. This includes your car’s indicators, tail-lights, headlamps, wipers, radio etc. If you find yourself driving through a rainstorm, the last thing you want is for your wipers to leave streaks across your windshield – or worse, not work at all. 
3. Tyre Inflator – Lately, almost all cars come equipped with tubeless tyres. The benefit with tubeless tyres is that in the event of a puncture, they tend to leak air very slowly, which can help you get to the nearest puncture shop or an auto workshop without any trouble. You’ll buy yourself some time before you find yourself stranded and amiss.
4. Original Documents – We can’t overstate the importance of having all of your original documents handy. Double check whether you’ve got your original RC (registration certificate) and make copies to carry with you, just in case. Double check for your car’s insurance documents along with your own driving license.
5. Road-Side Assistance – If you’re traveling in America, don’t leave home without AAA. If you’re heading out on a road trip in a different country, take the time to find out what their road-side assistance programs are like. For instance, in India, most car manufacturers provide road-side assistance at a nominal cost which covers most highways in the country. Do yourself a favour and keep the toll-free number handy. 
6. Car Chargers – If you’re routing your trip with Web 2.0 and using a GPS, make sure you’ve got a spare car charger ready, especially since smartphones tend to drain their batteries at a rapid pace. 
7. First-Aid Kit – Having a first-aid kit in the car is a given necessity, but very few of us know what actually goes in one. The Red Cross has a very thorough list on their website, so check it out before you get started. You can scale the items up or down as needed. 
8. Munchies – Last but not the least, stock up on food and hydration supplies! Keep a case (or two) of water bottles, light snacks like chips, sandwiches and chocolates, and chewing gums handy to help you get through hunger pangs and sugar lows. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to carry a box of tissues.

While the list above is in no particular order of importance, all of it is essential. And sure, it’ll require a little work ahead of time, but trust us. A little planning and a few checks will help you go a smooth, long way on the road.

Bon voyage!

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