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How to prepare your car for a long trip

Published 25th July 2022Read Time 8 min

No one wants a roadside breakdown ruining their plans. So, before you head out on the road you need to prepare your car for a long journey. When driving in unfamiliar terrain you need to keep your wits about you. Between navigation and keeping the kids happy in the back, your car should be the least of your worries. Safeguard your plans and protect your loved ones by following our guide on how to prepare your car for a long road trip.

12 things you should do to prepare your car for a long road trip

1. Check your tyres

You won’t get very far if your tyres are not in good condition. Staying on top of your car tyre maintenance is so important for day-to-day use and even more so for long journeys.  Make sure your tyres tread depth and pressure is within manufacturer’s recommendations. Keep an eye out for any cuts, or bulges in your tyres.

Don’t forget to check your spare tire too, you never know when you might need it. For more on what you need to look out for follow our car tyre guide.


2. Check your car’s oil level

Your car needs oil in the engine to keep moving. You are more likely to avoid a car breakdown if your oil level is low or deteriorating. This is a pretty quick and easy check to do. Make sure your oil level is between the minimum and maximum markers in your car model.


3. Top up the coolant in your car

Much like your car’s oil, coolant is a vital part for proper engine function. Coolant keeps your car in working order and stops your engine from overheating. You need to ensure your car’s coolant level is topped up before you take on any long journeys.  This is a visual check of your coolant tank.


4. Manually check all of your car lights

Having your lights in working order keeps you visible to other road users. Have a family member check your brake lights and do your own investigations inside your car. Car light bulbs are easily replaced and widely available.


5. Test your windshield wipers

Car windshields can quickly become very grimy. Especially when driving on open country roads with every type of Irish weather. Having your windshield wipers fluid topped up will help you avoid taking any unnecessary pitstops. Most car models have a windshield wiper fluid warning light. You can also easily check the fluids reservoir under the hood. Test your wipers while parked. If they are failing to clear your windshield or leave a lot of streaks, it might be time to replace your wiper blades.


6. Test your brakes

Always have a quick test to see how your breaks sound when preparing your car for a long trip. This will help you avoid any expensive repairs while on your road trip. If you hear any vibrations or grinding sounds take your car to a professional to check your brake system.


7. Test your car battery

No one wants to deal with a dead car battery, especially on any remote roads.If you have a  multimeter at home you can have a quick check on how your battery is doing.


8. Fill up your engine

Make sure you’re ready to go first thing by having your car engine topped up. All AA Customers can save 3c a litre on petrol and/or diesel at selected Circle K stations nationwide directly with the AA App or with an AA Fuel Savings Card.


9. Don’t forget breakdown cover

When preparing your car for a long trip, give yourself the peace of mind with AA roadside rescue. For as little as a 11 euro a month you can avail of our 24/7 roadside rescue service. We don’t just tow your car. Our team fix up to 80% of breakdowns on the roads.


10. Always have a first aid kit on long journeys

Keeping a first aid kit in your car can come in handy for any little bumps along the way. It doesn’t hurt to be organised and have band-aids, bandages, paracetamol and an antiseptic cream to hand. You never know when you might need them while your on the road.


11. Don’t overload your car

If you’re heading away for a while chances are you have a lot to pack in. Adding a lot of extra weight to your car boot can have adverse effects on your journey. Your steering may become less effective and a heavy load could alter the weight transfer of your car. Spreading the load evenly in your car will help avoid this.


12. Download your playlist

It’s time to get on the road, no long car journey would be complete without a healthy choice of personalised playlists and podcasts to listen to on the way.


Preparing your car for a long trip will help get you there and back without adding on any extra delays. Nothing would ruin your road trip more than facing car trouble that was avoidable.


In the market for car insurance? Become an aa member today and find the right policy for you, with our choice of cover. Get your AA car insurance quote online today!