Ensuring that your car is in a safe, drivable condition is important for any journey but particularly if you are planning a road trip.

Car checklist before a road trip

Here are some checks that you should make before heading off to ensure you have a safe and fun-filled family break!

Visual inspections

A good first step to getting your car ready for a road trip is giving it a clean inside and out. Not only will this make it more comfortable for you and your family while you are travelling, but it allows you to check for any issues that may have arisen.

You should look at:

  • Tyres – are they bulging, cracking or flat?
  • Glass – are there any chips in the windows or windscreen?
  • Mirrors – are they dirty or smashed?

If you do find any issues with the exterior that can put your driving and safety at risk, such as a windscreen crack, then you must look to get it fixed before your trip.


There is a range of things that you should be checking when it comes to your engine. If you find that your battery has drained or is struggling, you may consider booking a mobile battery fitting which will make things much easier for you if you still need to finish packing! You will also need to check the coolant and oil levels, but be sure to do so when the engine is cold or you will run the risk of burning yourself.


You should look to check the appearance, tread and pressure of your tyres. Tyres suffer from wear and tear so you should inspect for any damage and check the tread depth if you are setting off on a long trip. In the UK the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, which can be easily checked using a 20p coin. If the tread is almost at the minimum then you should look to get a new set before you head off as it can make driving dangerous due to lack of grip on the roads.


Checking your brakes is very simple. When applying pressure to the brake pedal, they should feel firm and smooth. If they feel too soft or are noisy then they could be worn down or thin so you should head to your local garage to get them checked out. It is also worth checking that your brake fluid is as close to the maximum limit as possible before heading out on a long trip to ensure that you don’t run out.


Light checks take only minutes and many people forget to do them. However, confirming that your dipped beam, indicator, brake, reversing and headlights are all functioning properly is key to safe driving.

You may need someone to help out with these so recruit an extra person to ensure that everything is in working order.

, Car Checks to Make Before Heading Off on a Family Road Trip, Days of a Domestic Dad