10 Things You Should Do Before Hitting the Roads This Summer |For what it's worth

Amazon links may be included. Thank you for supporting this blog at no additional cost to you.


10 Things You Should Do Before Hitting the Roads This Summer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #SummerCarCare #CollectiveBias

The kids are out of school for summer break and there are a list of things to do and places to drive on our summer activity list.  That means a lot more driving than usual so I pulled out my vehicle maintenance manual and made a check list to get our car ready to deliver us in optimal condition. I'll show you how easy it is to change the FRAM air filter right in your own garage.  I have also put together some “not so messy” snack ideas that can easily be packed for day trips plus a DIY travel activity kit to minimize that question kids love to ask – “ARE WE THERE YET?” 
10 tips to get your car ready for road trips

First order of business is to make sure I’ve done everything I can to get my 2011 Chevy Equinox in optimal travel condition.  I retrieved my owner’s manual from the glove box and made the following check list that includes things I can easily do (I’m a woman a bit over 60…), things the grands can help me do, and items to get done at a service center. 

10 car preps for road trips

How to get your car ready for summer road trips

    1. Check the wind shield wipers.  They should be soft and supple and crack free.  You can change them yourself or let an attendant slip them on where you purchase them.  Often they’ll do this for free.
    2. Check tires.  Tread should be even across the tire and not worn smooth.  Read the numbers on the tire for the proper inflation requirement.  All four tires should be inflated about the same.
    3. Clean the headlights and tail lights.  Make sure they are working, including the blinkers.  The grands were able help me with this plus they laughed at cleaning the headlights.  We used toothpaste!
    4. Check the air filter.  My vehicle manual suggests changing every 1200 miles or if it looks discolored with dirt. Air filters are the engine's first line of defense.   A clean air filter can increase acceleratioin, horsepower, and improve overall engine performance.  Dirty air filters restrict airflow, which can contribute to decreased acceleration, horsepower, and reduced overall performance. Out here in west Texas we get a lot of dirt and dust!  It's a simple car maintenance chore that I easily managed myself.  Most air filters can be installed in five minutes or less with simple tools.  I’ve included step by step photo instructions below using a FRAM Extra Guard 2X Air Filter I purchased at Walmart in the auto shop area. Scroll down below this list to see how easy it is.  
    5. Check the Oil.   My car has a digital message that tells me when it’s time to change the oil but I took the extra step of doing a visual check myself.  It’s easy.  Pull the cap/dip stick out of it’s chamber and take a look.  It should be a nice amber color and should come up to the full mark on the dip stick.  If it’s black and nasty, change the oil.  If it is low, fill it up to the mark but don’t over fill it.  When mine is due a change, I let Walmart do it.
    6. Check the coolant.  The radiator tank should be full.  My manual recommends changing the coolant annually and summer is my chosen time to do that.
    7. Check the transmission fluid.  Just make sure there is not too much or too little. 
    8. Check the Power Steering fluid.  If it is dark brown get it flushed and refilled at a service center.  
    9. Check the battery. Unless you have a sealed battery, make sure the fluid level is good and there is no visible discharge or leak on top.
    10. Be sure the vehicle inspection is up to date and you have proper legal paper work in the glove box.  In my state that means an insurance card.

How to change your car air filter 


Here is a short video I made  to show you just how super easy changing your car's air filter is! 

Before we get in the car I want to be prepared to keep the kids in happy moods.  That means a few snacks that won’t make a mess and some activities to keep active minds occupied.  I’ll also need a few other essentials like hand wipes, sun screen, bug repellent, and a small first aide kit.  Here's my shopping list of stacks for road trips.

Travel Snack Ideas

              • raisins
              • pretzels
              • marshmallows
              • gummy fruit candies
              • apple slices
              • grapes
              • soft granola bars
              • jerky sticks
              • crustless, bite size, peanut butter sandwiches
              • juice boxes
              • water bottles

Travel Craft Idea

When I started thinking of a travel craft kit for the kids I wanted to give them something memorable and a focus that would make souvenir shopping affordable. This summer I purchased a small scrap book we’ll be filling with post cards from our road trips that they can decorate with stickers, post note messages and colored pencil drawings.  Postcards are pretty darn cheap when it comes to that powerful desire the kids seem to have to buy something everywhere we stop.  I think it will be a fun activity they can show friends when they start back to school in the fall.  

DIY a craft kit for postcard journaling this summer

On the first day trip it is already a success.  Big Girl Grand started journaling right away and Boy Grand added his first postcard.  

DIY Travel time postcard crafting kit  with kids in the car

See that?  They aren't even fighting!  I'd call that successful trip planning!

Next week we're traveling to a Dinosaur museum in Seymore, Tx.  There's a postcard calling our names there!

Here is a photo to help you find the FRAM Extra Guard 2X Air Filter in the auto care department at Walmart.   I checked on line to see if my model/make could be ordered and delivered to my home but since I was going shopping there and it showed as an in stock item I picked it up.  I used the convenient electronic search pad to confirm the product number that fits my older model car then headed home with my purchase.  Are you ready for summer day trips?  Head over to Fram to find your filter and more summer car care inspiration.

20160507_145402   20160507_145828


  1. Great idea with the Scrapbook. And lots of good suggestions for keeping your car road trip ready.

    Jingle Jangle Jungle

  2. This is so helpful!! Thank you for sharing!


Gosh, I really love it when you leave comments...It feels all warm and fuzzy. :)