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10 Steps to Get Road Trip Ready

Summer road trips could be just round the corner (fingers crossed!), but they can be hard on your vehicle. As vaccinations ramp up and when provincial travel restrictions get lifted, we all want to be 100% road trip ready. Start prepping now and get your vehicle ready for camping, lake and beach trips.

Step 1: Check your expiry dates

Double-check the expiry date on your driver’s license and car insurance. You’ll find your insurance expiry date on your license plate sticker or your insurance papers. If it’s running out soon, BCAA is here to help you buy, renew or upgrade your ICBC Autoplan car insurance over the phone (1.888.268.2222,) or in-person at one of our 29 locations across BC. You can also boost your coverage with BCAA Optional Car Insurance, and BCAA Members save up to 20% too.


Step 2: Make a fix-or-replace list

Circle your vehicle and inspect your:

  • Windshield wipers: check your wiper blades. Are they worn or cracking? Do they smudge or screech across your windshield? If your blades are worn out, it’s time for fresh ones.
  • Air filter: replace your filter if it’s clogged with dirt and debris.
  • Fluid leaks: if you see a leak, write down the colour, type, amount and where it's dripping under your vehicle.
  • Tires: inspect your tires for pressure, wear, cuts, bulges, blisters and uneven tread wear.
  • Lights: test your headlights, blinkers, brake lights, hazard lights and reverse lights.
  • Spark plugs: test, clean and/or replace your spark plugs.
  • Brakes: Listen carefully for squeaking or scraping sounds. Can you smell burning? Do your pedals go right down to the floor? If so, best to replace your brake pads.
  • General: watch for loose mouldings, cracks or windshield chips, cracked or broken light covers.

If you need a hand, visit a BCAA Auto Service Centre for all your auto maintenance and repair needs, including safety inspections. For those who prefer to do it themselves, Members save 10% at Napa Auto Parts.


Step 3: Hoses and belts

Hot weather is extra hard on car hoses and belts. Pop the hood and check for soft hoses or cracks, nicks, bulges or blistering.


battery illustration

Step 4: Battery up

Summer is tougher on your battery than winter—and dead batteries are road trip killers. If your battery is ancient (car batteries last about four years), get it tested to see if you need a fresh battery before leaving town. Plus, we’re happy to come to you with our BCAA Battery Service Program.* Our Red Seal Certified Technicians will diagnose your battery, and if a replacement is needed, they will install a high-quality BCAA battery on the spot with a 6-year warranty. They’ll also take your old battery and make sure it’s recycled in the most environmentally sound method.


Step 5: Keep cool

You probably haven’t used your air conditioning since last summer. Turn on the A/C to see if it’s still pumping out cold air. Best to know now before you’re straining your engine and radiator when you’re crawling up mountainous roads and loaded down with tents, gear and kayaks.


Step 6: Prepare a road trip emergency kit

Stash an emergency kit in your trunk. You can get emergency car kits online (check out our rewards partner F.A.S.T., where BCAA Members save 20% on select emergency kits) and either customize your kit or build your own. The kit should contain essential items like non-perishable food, water, phone chargers, first aid kit and emergency blankets. So, if disaster strikes, your kit has enough to keep your crew alive and thriving for 72 hours.


Step 7: Be protected in case of the unexpected

BCAA Members always drive with confidence. Before you leave, double-check your BCAA Membership to make sure you’ve got the right coverage for your trip, especially if you’re driving an RV or towing a trailer. Download the BCAA Mobile App in case you need roadside assistance on the go and to locate rewards partners & save money along the way. Want to upgrade your BCAA Membership? You can do so in a few clicks by logging into your BCAA Account or give us a call at 1.888.268.2222.


Step 8: Create some getaway playlists

For a truly great road trip, keep your passengers entertained by compiling great music, shows, audiobooks, podcasts and kids’ games. Download everything before you go, in case you lose service. And once you’re on the road, avoid distraction by designating one passenger as the DJ. Check out expert tips on creating the ultimate road trip playlist.

technician filling up fluids

Step 9: Fill your fluids

In hot summer months, your car needs fluids just as much as you do. Check and change your oil and filter and top up your engine coolant and wiper fluid. Ask an automotive expert to measure your transmission fluid, brake fluid and power-steering fluid.


Step 10: Get a professional inspection

If your car has been sitting for a while or just needs some love, play it safe and get a tune-up from an automotive tech at your local BCAA Auto Service Centre, open Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Members get exclusive savings, a free car wash and a two-year warranty, woot! Book an appointment today, so you’re all set for your eventual summer road trips.


For more great tips, travel status updates and future BC road trip ideas, be sure to follow along on BCAA's Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Plus, subscribe to our BCAA Member Rewards e-news to learn about exclusive offers, deals and news from BCAA.

*BCAA Battery Service availability varies depending on vehicle make and model, and is limited to service areas as outlined at bcaa.com/batteryservice.