How to Prepare Your Car for a Cross-Country Road Trip – 2024 Guide

Traveling by car is perhaps the absolute best way to experience every part of the land you are about to explore. The amount of freedom that traveling in your own car gives you is unmatched by any other form of transport, be it airplane, ship, train, or bus. Whatever you see and however long of a detour you want to take is possible because you only have yourself and the accompanying passengers to consult with.

There are all sorts of ways to plan and prepare a road trip and carry it out. Some people drive for as long as they can before taking a break, while others like taking breaks and spending nights along the road in motels, tents, or simply under the stars. It all comes down to personal preference and the distance between your home and your final destination.

However, it is a cross-country road trip that you plan to take, the preparations and planning rise to another level. Since there are so many things that can go wrong by the time you get there, resources, equipment, and most of all, the condition of your car must be top-notch. The right mindset also helps, which is why we decided to bring to you the best way to prepare your vehicle for a cross-country road trip. To learn more cars and perhaps browse for a new one if that is something you currently need, make sure to visit and look through what they have to offer.

1. Basic Checkups and Tinkering

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Before you start your journey, you must to all of the regular things car maintenance implies. There are certain mechanical aspects of vehicles that owners have to care for regularly, no matter how much and how occasionally they drive. Change brake fluid, air filters, as well as the spark plugs.

First of all, you have to change the oil and the filter. Your engine will appreciate it and your car will run more smoothly and easily with fresh oil. Of course, start the journey with a full tank of gas and remember to make frequent stops at gas stations. Refill it when it is half-full to avoid potential trouble with too much distance between gas stations.

Next, it is important to clean your car thoroughly, as if you mean to sell it. Starting a road trip with a clean car will make things easier to find inside, and you will spot potential issues on the outside more clearly. In addition, the car will look much better in photos that are bound to happen! Regarding hygiene, keep a small garbage bag in the car.
Put as little luggage as possible on top of the car, since it creates air friction and slows you down considerably. This also consumes more gas. If possible, get an aerodynamic roof storage box, or cover the luggage with a strong sheet that you will tie nice and tight.

Check the tire pressure and the overall condition, wipers and wiper fluid, and replenish coolant and antifreeze. Flush the radiator, check that all of the lights and other electronics work properly. The best way to check all of the above is to have a mechanic look for any issues with your car. Mention that you will be taking a long cross-country road trip so that they know exactly what to look for. For more information, visit

2. Survival and Safety Equipment

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Since you will be away from home for a while, and possibly away from civilization for hours on end, it is important to carry with you all the necessities that could make the difference in a sticky situation.

First of all, let us mention some survival and basic camping gear you will want by your side. You will need a chain or a thick towing rope just in case and an electric charger wire if your battery fails. A flashlight or two is always a must no matter where you go. Screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers are essential parts of any traveling toolkit and a worthy companion on the move. Finally, you will want a few camping knives, some eating utensils, a hammer, and some bungee cords just in case. Helpful Chef has some great guides to help you pick eating utensils, cookware, and knives.

Regarding basic safety, a fire extinguisher is something that can save your life so make sure to pack one. A spare tire is a no-brainer, as are the trusty tire iron and jack. The car’s owner’s manual is also crucial, and it should always be in your glovebox. A neat hack is to bring a small water bucket, especially if you plan on stopping near a river or a lake.

Finally, basic sanitation and cleaning supplies have to be a part of your gear. Always keep some hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, wet wipes, tissues, and a roll of toilet paper close by. Nowadays, having a surgical mask pack is also highly advised.

3. Infotainment and Comfort

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Finally, it is important to provide the needed entertainment for everyone involved, the right source of information while traveling, and an overall comfort level that will suit everyone. Depending on the season, you must remember to bring another set of appropriate clothing, as well as sunglasses, winter caps or summer hats, and sun cream. Comfort-wise, bring enough folding chairs and tables, sitting mats, blankets, and anything else you may need to throw a picnic no matter where you park to rest.

Regarding entertainment, most modern cars have loads of options, from additional screens in the back for the kids to numerous speakers in every corner for the best music experience. If your family or friends have some preferences regarding music or movies, make sure to make different playlists and transfer enough movies and shows onto a portable drive. Car road trips are some of the best opportunities for meaningful conversations and group games, so make use of the time and bond with your loved ones! Moreover, once you realized the essence of having your car audio system upgraded, it’s also best to explore review sites and buying guides to help you choose which car speakers, subwoofers, and amps will suit your listening preferences. To check for the latest buying guides on the best car speakers of today, just visit

Last but not least, you will need to configure the GPS and the maps you plan to use and prepare everything in advance. The last thing you want is to be left to your wits in the middle of nowhere with no way of finding the right way. Depending on your car’s satnav or some other type of navigation device, including your smartphone, find the best solution for the entire road trip and dedicate a device to show you the way. Speaking of smartphones, make sure to have at least two phone chargers in your car during the trip. A quality map is a great alternative if technology fails you!

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