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Blog > The Ultimate Family Trip Car Checklist

The Ultimate Family Trip Car Checklist

Planning & Preparation

Embarking on a family trip in Wainwright, Alberta, Canada, is an exciting endeavour that requires careful planning and preparation. One crucial aspect is performing car checks to ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in the car. Conducting thorough car maintenance checks before hitting the road can minimize the chances of unexpected breakdowns and ensure a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience. This comprehensive checklist will cover 20 essential items you should check in your car before embarking on a family trip.

External Check

1. Tires – Check the tire pressure on your vehicle, tread depth, and overall condition of all four tires. Ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread for optimal traction and handling. Don’t forget to inspect the spare tire as well.

2. Lights and Signals – Test all exterior lights, including headlights, taillights, turn signals, and brake lights. Replace any bulbs that are burnt out or dim. Clean the lenses for maximum visibility.

3. Fluid Levels – Check the levels of essential fluids such as engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. Top up or replace fluids as needed.

4. Brakes – Test the brakes for responsiveness and ensure no unusual noises or vibrations exist. If you notice any issues, have them inspected by a professional mechanic.

5. Windshield Wipers – Inspect the wiper blades on your vehicle for signs of wear and tear. Replace them if necessary to ensure clear visibility during rain or snow.

Interior Check

6. Seatbelts and Child Restraints – Ensure all seatbelts are in good condition and functioning properly. If travelling with children, ensure the installation of their car seats or boosters is secure.

7. Air Conditioning and Heating – Test the air conditioning and heating systems to ensure they work effectively. Adjust the temperature settings and fan speed to your preference.

8. Dashboard and Controls – Check that all dashboard indicators, gauges, and controls function properly, including the fuel gauge, speedometer, odometer, and warning lights.

9. Mirrors and Windows – Clean all mirrors and windows thoroughly for clear visibility. Adjust and secure the side and rearview mirrors to ensure optimal viewing angles.

10. Seats and Upholstery – Inspect the seats and upholstery for any tears, stains, or damages. Clean or repair them if necessary to maintain a comfortable and pleasant interior.

Emergency Essentials

11. Spare Tire, Jack, and Lug Wrench – Whether you have a car, SUV or pickup truck, ensure you have a fully inflated spare tire and the necessary tools to change a flat tire. Familiarize yourself with the process of changing a tire if you haven’t done so before.

12. Jumper Cables – Carry a set of jumper cables in case your battery needs a boost. Ensure they are in good condition and can safely jump-start a car.

13. First Aid Kit – Prepare a fully stocked first aid kit that includes bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and other essential medical supplies.

14. Emergency Contact List – Create a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, roadside assistance, and family members or friends.

15. Roadside Assistance Membership – Consider signing up for a roadside assistance program that can help in case of breakdowns, flat tires, or other unexpected incidents.

Entertainment and Comfort

16. Snacks and Drinks – Pack a variety of snacks and drinks to keep everyone nourished and hydrated during the journey. Opt for non-perishable items and avoid messy or sticky foods.

17. Pillows and Blankets – Bring pillows and blankets to ensure everyone rests comfortably during long trips, which is especially important if you have young children or passengers who may need extra support.

18. Travel Games and Activities – Prepare travel games, books, or electronic devices to keep passengers entertained during the journey, which can help minimize restlessness and boredom.

19. USB Chargers and Cables – Ensure you have USB chargers and cables to keep electronic devices powered throughout the trip, ensuring everyone can stay connected and entertained.

20. Trash Bags and Wet Wipes – Keep the car clean and tidy by having trash bags and wet wipes readily available. Encourage passengers to use them to dispose of trash and maintain cleanliness.


By following this comprehensive checklist before your family trip, you can ensure all passengers’ safety, comfort, and enjoyment. From checking the external components of your car to preparing emergency essentials and providing entertainment and comfort, each item on this list plays a crucial role in creating a stress-free and memorable journey. If you have any doubts, take your vehicle to your local car dealer or car dealership to have a professional take a look at it. Remember, a well-prepared car is the foundation for a successful family adventure. Safe travels!

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