13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips #cbias #ad #SummerCarCare

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13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips #cbias #ad #SummerCarCare

So, it’s almost summer. Yay! If you are like us that means summer road trips. Amber and I usually take a few road trips during the summer. Some are a few days long and some are day trips. Either way, we don’t want to be caught on the side of the road or not have what we need. So, we have a list of 13 summer car care tips we do to get ready.

13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips #cbias #ad #SummerCarCare

13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips

Get Your Car Looked Over By A Mechanic – I like to get the belts hoses and such looked at by a professional every few months. I always take my car to the same mechanic so he is nice enough to do this for free.

Get The Freon In Your AC Checked – I like to vacation in the hot places. That does not mean I want to be hot.

Fill Up On Gas The Night Before – I like to do this just because I find it convenient. Also, if you oversleep or are in a time crunch the next day, this is just one less thing to think about.

Take Your Own Snacks And Drinks – We always pack a cooler with waters and a few other drinks. Then, when we head out, we stop at Walmart to get ice. We dump it out as it melts and refill with ice as necessary. We also get one of their variety snack packs that come in the big bag to keep in the car. This saves so much money over the course of the trip.

Check Your Tires – One two recent trips, I have had to replace one tire before I left {not the same tire}. One was so bad that my car probably would not have made the trip as it was splitting! So, I am really glad that I got a new tire before I left.

Clean Your Car – I like to clean the car thoroughly before I leave on any trip. I clean it both inside and out. Granted, sometimes it comes back dirty, but that is ok. Summer road trips require a lot of time in cars, so you don’t want to be miserable.

Check Your CD Collection – This is one of the summer car care tips that is often forgotten. I keep CDs over both visors in my car. So, before summer road trips, I like to change them out as I grow tired of listening to the same CDs all the time. Also, if there are several of us going on a trip together, we often make mix CDs with songs on them everyone likes so there is no fighting over the radio.

Change Your Oil If Necessary – Your road trip might add a lot of miles to your car so an oil change might be in order.

Check All Fluid Levels – Fluids that need to be checked include {but might not be limited to} transmission, oil, brake fluid, washer fluid and antifreeze. You can get the mechanic to do this, if it makes you feel better. Or, you can easily do it yourself. Check your car’s manual for instructions.

Clean All Windows And Mirrors Thoroughly – Don’t forget to clean the insides of your windows, too, as they get dirty and can often be neglected.

Deal With Any Safety Recalls – Sometimes we get notifications about safety recalls. These are important to deal with before you go on summer road trips as some of them could be safety issues.

Change Your Car’s Cabin Air Filter – Here is another one of our summer car care tips that often gets neglected. No, that is not the same as the air filter. I have a tutorial on how to change your car’s cabin air filter here.

Change Your Car’s Air Filter – No need to pay someone else to do this for you. It’s super easy to change your own air filter. We bought our FRAM Extra Guard Air Filter at Walmart.

13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips #cbias #ad #SummerCarCare

Changing your air filter is so important, yet often overlooked. A clean air filter prevents dust and other debris from getting into your engine. It can also increase your car’s overall performance. FRAM recommends changing your air filter annually or every 12,000 miles. Be sure to follow recommended change intervals as noted in your vehicle owner’s manual.

How To Change Your Car’s Air Filter

First, locate the air filter compartment, or “breather” as it is sometimes referred to, on your vehicle. Note that different makes and models of vehicles place the air filter compartment in different places, therefore yours may be much different than ours. It can usually be found by looking for a 4-inch round, ribbed hose coming out of a black box on your engine. That box is the air intake, where the filter should be located. However, if you are not certain, I recommend speaking to a certified mechanic before proceeding or checking your car’s manual.

13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips #cbias #ad #SummerCarCare

Next, determine how to remove the top of the compartment. Again, this is different on various vehicles. On the Jeep Liberty and my daughter’s Jeep Patriot, it was simply two latches on each end of the compartment. On the GMC Acadia which we were changing the filter on, it was six hex (or star bit) head screws. Again, if you are not certain, speak to a certified mechanic before proceeding.

13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips #cbias #ad #SummerCarCare

After determining the way to remove the top of the compartment, remove the top and look inside. There you should see the air filter. It just sits inside the box. There should not be anything to really hold it in there since it is already contained inside the compartment. You can remove the old filter simply by lifting it out of the compartment.

Next, be sure to check that your new replacement air filter is the same size and shape as the one you are removing. If it isn’t, you may have the wrong filter for your car. That will mean a trip back to the store to exchange your new filter for the right one. Otherwise, note which way your old filter came out. The filter may have to go in a certain way. On our GMC Acadia, the bigger end had to go down in the compartment. Some filters have arrows on them to indicate the direction of air flow. That should help if it does. Otherwise, it should be obvious if you set the new filter in and it doesn’t seem to sit well, or you can’t get the compartment lid to go back on, you need to flip the filter over.

13 Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips #cbias #ad #SummerCarCare

Once you have placed the air filter in the compartment, replace the top of the compartment and you are done. Our vehicle took a little longer with the hex head screws, about 30-45 minutes, but in other vehicles, it can be done in less than five minutes.

Socialize With FRAM

FRAM Website / Find FRAM at Walmart

Do You Have Any Other Summer Car Care Tips For Great Road Trips?

About Dawn McAlexander

Dawn is a full time travel and lifestyle blogger. Besides Cheap Is The New Classy, she also owns and writes for EatPlayRock.com, an entertainment site. Her interests include traveling, home decor, DIY projects, organizing her home and enjoying a nice cup of coffee {or two}. She currently resides in North Carolina with her dog, Daisy.


  1. Great tips! My favorite tips are getting gas the night before and changing your air filter! Thanks for sharing those! #client

  2. Robin Masshole Mommy says:

    Loving all your tips! We always bring our own snacks with us and LOTS of them. We get Hangry easily in our family!

  3. Super good advice! I’m getting ready to sell my sister one of our cars and I plan to go through your 13 point checklist for her. Thank you!

  4. These are such great tips! My husband has weekly car cleanings on his calendar for every Sunday because we somehow accumulate so much dirt in there! I blame living at the beach and all the sand.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      That sounds like a problem I would love to have. Ahhh… beach living sounds nice. πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks so much for your tips! Our family van has to be all geared up and ready when we go camping and road trekking this summer! Your tips will be utilized!

  6. These are great tips and a perfect reminder for me as we get ready for summer!

  7. I should probably check out tires and our oil tomorrow. It could be time to change the filters too!

  8. Hubby is my go to guy for all things car related. He will love reading about this and I can’t wait to tell him so he sees how smart I am.

  9. It is so important to make sure that the car is ready and safe to get on the road especially for a long trip!

  10. I love that this is so easy to do yourself. I just bought new bulbs to replace a rear brake light ourselves and it sounds like I need to buy a filter too.

  11. As someone who road trips a lot, these are great tips! And you make it look so easy to change the filter!

  12. Great tips – we always pack our own snacks for a road trip – you’re right, it can save you a lot of money over the course of a week or so … not to mention that you can actually save time because you don’t have to stop for a drink or a snack πŸ™‚

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      You are right. Saving that precious time might even be better than saving some cash. πŸ™‚

  13. We have a couple of trips planned this summer. I will definitely be checking the car over before we head out. I’ve been on trips before where we had vehicle trouble mid-way and it was awful.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Oh no! That is definitely one of my worst fears. I try very hard to stay on top of maintenance because of that.

  14. We love family road trips. We have a few planned for the summer and I was just thinking I’d like to add one more before back to school.

  15. These are all good tips. I am trying to teach my daughter the importance of checking such things regularly, but esp. if she’s wanting to go on a car trip.

  16. Love your tips and advice, will be keeping this post for future reference and pinning as well. I love road trips so much.

  17. I love reading posts like this before our road trip season. It’s so helpful. We have a long one this Summer.

  18. These are excellent tips! A road trip with no AC is a nightmare….don’t ask how I know that!!!! πŸ˜‰

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      I have done a road trip with no AC. And you are right, it was a nightmare – and right in the middle of summer. Ahhhh…

  19. Fabulous list of tips that would work for the beginning of summer and not just for trip preparations!

  20. We need to get our car Summer road trip ready and I’ll definitely be utilizing this list to help us – thanks!

  21. These are all great tips! We drive across the country every year and I am so grateful that my husband is always so good about taking care of the car.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Wow! That sounds like so much fun. I definitely hope to do that one day myself.

  22. Great car tips especially for us women! I would just update CD to ipad/phone mp3 collections because thats how I listen to music in my car now. I am planning to do a few roadtrips this summer!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      That’s a great idea! My daughter does that, too. One day CDs might go the way of records, though I still have a ton of them, too. πŸ™‚

  23. Great tips for summer. We love FRAM air and oil filters for our vehicles

  24. I can’t tell you how much more mileage you get just by making sure your tire pressure is correct! These are all great tips!!

  25. Filters are so important. I get them changed a lot in the spring and summer!

  26. We’ll be taking a road trip in July, so getting my car set before we head out is top on our list. I didn’t realize how easy it was to do all of this on your own. Finally, I can get this done without spending an outrageous amount of money. #client

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      And you don’t have to worry about fitting these maintenance issues into someone else’s schedule, too!

  27. I am excited that gas prices have decreased so much – having three kids, road trips seem to be the best option for us! I just changed my air filter πŸ™‚

  28. These are all great tips! I just bought a new car so I’m being extra super careful to make sure its kept up well before our road trips this summer!

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      Congrats on your new purchase! I hope that it lasts for many years to come. πŸ™‚

  29. I don’t personally have a car but my hubby does so i will definitely share these tips with him. There are some steps you mentioned that I have never seen him do lol…

  30. love the tip to get gas the day before. i feel like i’m always in such a rush the day of traveling that stopping for gas is always such a headache.

    • Dawn McAlexander says:

      It never fails with us, we always leave later than we wanted to. So, having the car already filled up helps us make up some of that time. πŸ™‚

  31. Cathy M says:

    This checklist is perfect and seriously awesome timing–we are gearing up for a road trip in 2 weeks, so I’ll have to make sure I do all of this. Thank you!!