Before you hit the road this summer — be it to a local amusement park or to go clear across the country — make sure your vehicle is road trip ready with a checkup so you can have any problems fixed before you take off.

Perhaps it’s happened to you before or you’ve been with a friend or family member and a flat tire takes you by shock while you’re traveling on a major freeway. Or maybe you don’t check the car’s air conditioning fluid and you get half way to your destination and it peters out. It happens to the best of us, so why take a chance and let these potential vehicle issues ruin your fun? Think about taking action before you begin your journey with a pre-trip vehicle checkup.

A pre-trip vehicle checkup will certainly help avoid the inconvenience, potential safety hazards and unplanned expense of breaking down miles away from home, according to the non-profit Car Care Council.

Here are a few tips to get you in the mindset before loading your luggage and getting the tunes ready for the road:

  • Check filters and fluids, including engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield washer and power steering, brake and transmission fluids. Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause the engine to lose power.
  • Check the hoses and belts and replace if they become cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or show signs of excessive wear. These are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, power steering and the cooling system.
  • Check the brake system and make sure the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
  • Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Underinflated tires reduce a vehicle’s fuel economy and uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
  • Check the engine to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and produces the lowest level of emissions.
  • Check that the gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.

“If you’re planning a summer road trip, it’s important to remember that it’s not as simple as just putting gas in the car and driving off,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Performing a thorough inspection of your vehicle before you leave will give you peace of mind and help make your road adventure safer and more fun.”

Now that you have complete a pre-trip checkup you can begin your trip knowing you took care of any possible problems beforehand. So, go ahead and get behind the wheel with all of your tasty snacks and favorite songs for what should be a safe journey.