From The National Safety Council:

Pre-Trip Inspection

A simple pre-trip inspection can help save trouble down the road.



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A simple pre-trip inspection can help save trouble down the road. In addition to routine maintenance and repair, drivers can use this checklist to reduce the risk of a breakdown:

  • Be sure tires (including the spare) are properly inflated. Watch out for uneven tread wear and follow your owner’s manual for proper tire rotation frequency. Take your car to an ASE-certified technician to have tires rotated and balanced.
  • Test brake lights, headlights and turn signals to make sure they work properly. Change any weak bulbs.
  • Replace worn wiper blades.
  • Check fluid levels under the hood, including battery fluid, brake fluid, coolant, oil, transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid.
  • Check belts and hoses for any visible cracks or bulges. If belts and hoses are over 4 years old, take your car to a certified technician and have them replaced.

In case of a roadside emergency, the National Safety Council recommends you be prepared with a “survival kit” that should always remain in the car. Ten essential supplies include:

  • Blanket and warm clothing
  • Compass
  • Exterior windshield cleaner and coolant (also called antifreeze)
  • First aid kit
  • Ice scraper and snow brush
  • Non-perishable food
  • Reflective triangles and brightly-colored cloth
  • Tool kit
  • Water
  • Working flashlight and extra batteries

Information and recommendations are compiled from sources believed to be reliable. The National Safety Council makes no guarantee as to and assumes no responsibility for the correctness, sufficiency or completeness of such information or recommendations. Other or additional safety measures may be required under particular circumstances.