I’m a big fan of the road trip especially when it comes to saving money.

For example 2 tickets from Toronto, Ontario Canada to Orlando, Florida on Air Canada will cost average of $500 or more per ticket. Where as the gas to drive that same distance is closer to $400 total (depending on your car of course).

Before you hit the road, here’s my car checklist on how to get your car road worthy and prepared. (If you go to a mechanic they should be able take care of some of the items on the list for you).

Here are 15 things to check off your list before your road trip

1. Mechanical check. Make sure the car runs well and that the brakes are in good condition. This might be a good time for a general tune-up.

2. Check tires. Make sure your tires have adequate tread depth and tire pressure and make sure that they are in general good condition (i.e., no cracks on the sidewall etc).

3. Check fluids. Make sure engine oil, radiator fluid/anti-freeze, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid are all at the proper level and nothing is leaking.

4. Windshield wiper blades. Check the front and/or back wipers.

5. Spare Tire. Make sure it is inflated and that you have the jack/handle in the trunk and that you know how to use it. (Calculated Traveller Kim is a pro at changing a tire – her father insisted that all his girls practiced this over and over again!)

6. Headlights. This includes front, turn signals, side markers and brake lights. Check that they are all working and that none of the bulbs are burnt out.

7. Pack an emergency first aid kit. AAA makes a great first aid kit that has everything you could need but you could also create your own and pack it in a cooler bag or toiletry bag.

8. Pack Paper map/GPS. If you are a regular reader you would have read this article on why you should always pack paper maps.

9. Pack blankets, pillows. This is really important if you are travelling in the winter. If your car breaks down you’ll need to stay warm without having the engine on.

10. Flashlight. You should always have a fully charged flashlight (this is the flashlight that I use) in the car at all times.

11. Small cooler with food, snacks and drinks. Note: you will be checked at the border for fruit and meat products as the same agricultural border rules apply whether you are flying or driving.

12. Cell phone and car charger.

13. Small garbage bags. To keep the car tidy and if someone gets motion sickness. I like to use an empty bleach wipe container and line it with a plastic bag.

14. Paper towel. I like to carry an entire roll. You are after all eating and drinking in a moving vehicle and there could be a spill. Don’t forget wet wipes too.

15. Start the trip with a full tank of gas. This way you can get some good distance on the road before you have to make your first stop for gas.

For more tips – check out the post on my 10 Road Trip Rules

Car Checklist

What’s on your car checklist?