Getting Your Car Ready for Summer Road Trips

June 28, 2023By Paul
Car Getting Oil Changed

Pre-Travel Car Maintenance

Are you traveling this summer? Nearly two in three adults, or 63 percent of U.S. adults, are likely to take a summer vacation this year according to a recent survey by Bankrate, a consumer-finance data provider.

Whether heading to the beach or a national park, we can service your car to ensure it is in trip-ready shape.

Few things can spoil a road trip quite the way car trouble does. Whether it’s something relatively minor like a flat tire or significant such as a failed transmission, car repairs create inconvenience, delays, extra expenses, changed itineraries, and sometimes outright cancellations. 

No one wants the takeaway memory from their road trip to be one of being stranded on the side of a remote road for hours or worse.

Fortunately, there’s a way to prepare for a road trip that can help you avoid some of the most common car troubles you might experience. Car maintenance before a road trip can prevent headaches and heartbreaks, and a car inspection checklist is a great way to start. 

Whether your road trip is a half-day trip to the beach, a tour of our national parks, or anything else, some car maintenance before road trips can go a long way to ensuring a memorable road trip for all the right reasons.

7-Point Car Maintenance Inspection Checklist For Road Trips

So what should you inspect on your vehicle before going on a road trip? We’ve compiled a list of 7 essentials.

1. Check Tire Pressure and Tire Tread

Proper tire pressure ensures better gas mileage and handling. In addition to being properly inflated, your tires need to be in good condition, meaning the tread is not too low and there aren’t damaged areas on the tire.

Only some have the equipment to inflate tires on their own, and going to a gas station to inflate tires can be inconvenient and also something easy to forget. Plus, most people don’t really know what to look for when it comes to the condition of their tires.

Fortunately, there’s an easy and convenient way to check this one off the list. When you bring your car in for a full-service oil change at Valvoline Express Care, which is another item on this checklist, you’ll also receive an 18-point safety check that includes checking tire pressure and inflating them as needed. Tire rotations are also available, and a certified technician can recommend one if it’s time and will also be able to spot any issues with your tread and other parts of your tires.

Don’t forget to check the spare!

2. Refill Wiper Blades and Washer Fluids

Summer is one of the toughest times for wiper blades because of dust and dirt, thunderstorms, and insects. Those wiper blades see a lot of use, and you don’t want to head off on your trip with blades that aren’t up to the job and need replacing.

As part of the 18-point safety check that’s part of your full-service oil change at Valvoline Express Care, we’ll inspect your wiper blades, and we can perform wiper blade replacement on the spot if it’s needed. Also, we’ll refill your windshield washer fluid reservoirs at the same time.

3. Brake Check

A grinding sound from the brakes or a feeling of a vibrating sensation indicates that a mechanic must inspect them. Getting any necessary repairs or replacements may be an unexpected or unwelcome cost. But it will give you peace of mind from not having to worry about any issues while you’re driving.

Regular brake service ensures that your vehicle operates and stops safely and avoids problems down the road. Get top-quality brake service at Valvoline Express Care. Our skilled technicians use high-quality parts for repairs and maintenance. 

4. Belts and Hoses

Rubber drive belts power the engine water pump and some accessories. Since drive belts do not always show obvious signs of wear, replacing them every 60,000 miles is recommended. 

A squeaking belt may also indicate the need for replacement. If a serpentine belt breaks while you’re driving, the car will break down, and the engine may suffer severe damage. 

Aside from squeaking, signs of a bad serpentine belt include power steering or AC not working, the check engine light coming on, an overheating engine, and a smell of burnt rubber.

When selecting our service, Valvoline’s trusted technicians check radiator hoses for leaks, brittleness, wear, excessive softness, bulges, or any other signs that indicate replacing the hoses.

5. Battery Connections and Voltage

A dead battery in a remote location can be a severe problem. Before leaving for your trip, check that cable connections are clean and tight, and ensure the battery is securely in place. 

Buy a charger/tester at home or have a certified mechanic at one of Valvoline Express Care’s nine locations across Atlanta check your battery. Pro tip: Always pack jumper cables so you can try to recharge a dead battery.

Valvoline Express Care offers professional battery replacement services to help keep your vehicle running smoothly. Call us at the shop nearest you for fast and reliable service.

6. AC – Keeping it Cool For Summer

Don’t catch yourself in the sweltering summer heat without air conditioning in your vehicle. Before your trip, start the car up and turn the AC on high for 5 minutes to see that it’s working correctly. If it seems underperforming, consider having it inspected by a professional.

If you are in need of professional air conditioning service for your vehicle, trust Valvoline Express Care for experienced technicians, quality parts, and comprehensive services. Learn more about our air conditioning services offered at all of our nine locations across Atlanta.

7. Oil and Other Fluids

Top off your engine oil, coolant, brake, power steering, and transmission fluids at a Valvoline Express Care near you! We serve metro-Atlanta commuters and auto owners by providing the highest level of auto care and maintenance.  If it’s close to the time for your following oil change, it’s probably a good idea to do it before you leave so that your oil stays fresh and clean and you don’t have to take time out of your trip to get an oil change.

Every Valvoline Express Care Drive-Thru 10-Minute Oil Change includes a thorough 20-point inspection of the major components on your vehicle, all while you stay safely in your car. Keep your car running smoothly with our fast and efficient drive-thru 10-minute oil change service. Our expert technicians keep you on schedule. Visit us in Marietta, Woodstock, Duluth, Tucker, Sandy Springs, and other metro-Atlanta auto service locations today!

Road Trip Emergency Kit

Even with careful inspection and maintenance, things can go wrong, and emergencies can occur. You should have a roadside emergency kit with a flashlight, extra batteries, first-aid materials, flares or reflectors, essential tools (screwdrivers and a wrench at the very least), snacks and water, duct tape, gloves, and rags or paper towels

Have Our Certified Technicians Run a Full Maintenance Inspection

One of the best ways to tick off a car inspection checklist and see the maintenance and repairs to prepare your car for summer is to take it to a professional service. There, certified mechanics can perform inspections and tune-ups covering everything on this list.Valvoline Express Care has nine store locations that provide drive-through oil changes, inspections, and other repairs and services with no appointments necessary. When your road trip is approaching, just use our convenient store locator to find the location closest to you. Just leave it to the trusted pros so that you can focus on fun and memories.



Paul Eidbo is the founder and president of Piedmont Lube Centers LLC, an Atlanta-based company that develops, owns, and operates Valvoline Express Care oil change and auto service facilities.  He opened his first quick lube facility in 2004 and has expanded throughout Metro Atlanta.  Paul graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in history and earned his MBA from Vanderbilt University.  Paul lives in Atlanta with his wife, three sons, and two dogs.