Summer Road Trip Tips

Whether you pick a favourite destination or decide to explore someplace new, embarking on a vacation is a popular summertime rite of passage. While flying is one option, most of us rely on our personal vehicles to get where we’re going. Keep the following road trip tips in mind the next time you’re planning to hit the road.

Review your maintenance schedule

The last thing you want to happen while you’re on the road is a breakdown. You can greatly reduce the chances of this occurring by adhering to your car’s maintenance schedule and completing all due items before travelling.

This also entails taking care of tasks that may become due while you’re travelling. For example, if your next oil change isn’t due for another 2,000 kilometres but your trip will take you at least that far, then change the oil and oil filter before you leave.

You’ll also want to check all fluids—transmission, brake, coolant, and windshield—and top them off as necessary. Again, if it’s time to flush the radiator or change the transmission fluid, get these tasks done before you leave.

Hoses and belts are another concern, and they may not wear out according to schedule. Lift the hood and inspect each hose. If the rubber feels squishy or appears cracked, then replace the hose. Replace any belts that are frayed, cracked, or loose. If a belt screeches when pulling away from a dead stop, it’s time to replace that one too.

Car batteries suffer the most in hot summer temperatures. The ambient temperature may be 32°C, but under the hood, temperatures can get close to boiling. Heat is your battery’s biggest enemy, and there is nothing you can do about it. This means that if your battery is approaching the end of its expected lifespan, then replacing it before you head out is a wise decision.

Tires carry several thousand pounds of vehicle mass, and keeping you and everyone else safe is a priority. Rotate your tires as required and replace them when the tread wear indicators are showing. Check your spare too—the last thing you want is a flat tire and a dud spare. Keep in mind that having properly inflated tires and activating cruise control will go a long way toward enhancing fuel economy.

You’re not done yet! Brakes that squeak, grind, or pull indicate that at least one component needs replacing. Also, swap out wiper blades that are old or cracked.

Finally, before heading out, ensure your roadside assistance membership is up to date and that your emergency kit has everything you might need.

Pack with care

The longer you plan to be away, the more likely you are to pack extra clothes, additional food, and favourite creature comforts from home.

Even after careful packing, you may find that you don’t have enough space to bring everything you want. This is where a car‑top carrier comes in handy: you can pack items inside the carrier and secure it to the top of your vehicle. With its eight adjustable straps, held in place by side release buckles, you can safely and effectively pack your remaining items without dangerously overstuffing your vehicle’s cargo space. It’s also important to have easy access to the spare tire, just in case.

Once you have the maintenance and preparations behind you, enjoy the trip—you deserve it!

Check out all the safety and accessory products available on, or trust one of our 600 NAPA AUTOPRO locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on summer road trip tips, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

Matthew C. Keegan