It’s gourd-eous out! Are you planning one final getaway before winter comes? Or, do you enjoy a nice drive to see all the colors fall has to offer? No matter what your plans are, it’s a great time to enjoy fall in all of its glory with a road trip.

Before you hit the road for the nearest apple orchard or Hocking Hills, ensure you have everything you need for a smooth drive:

1. Check your alignment. Poor alignment can cause problems for your vehicle if it’s not addressed. Without proper alignment, tires wear more quickly, overall handling drops and fuel efficiency decreases.

2. Check your spare tire. Many newer car models don’t come with a spare tire in order to improve fuel economy, so first make sure you have one. If you do, it’s important to remember that they typically are designed for only temporary use (up to about 50 miles). Even if you’re traveling a short distance, if previously the spare was used as the fourth tire for any length of time, it likely needs to be replaced. When in doubt, have an expert examine your spare; Tire Discounters provides this service for free.

3. Examine oil, wiper fluid and coolant levels before the drive. It’s a great idea to have your car’s fluid levels checked before you leave so you can enjoy your quick getaway without any car trouble.

4. Perform a quick brake light, headlight and turn signals test: If you’re embarking on a quick day trip, you don’t want it to end on a bad note when you discover one of your tail lights is out on the dark drive back. Be sure to test out your turn signals, brake lights and headlights before you leave. 

5. Replace wiper blades before traveling. It’s a good idea to change wiper blades during the fall season before winter hits. If you haven’t done this recently, consider replacing them before leaving for a road trip. And, you’ll want maximum visibility for viewing all the colorful leaves!

6. Always carry an emergency kit with you. There’s never a good time for your car to break down, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. Be sure to have extra gloves, boots, blankets (for cool nights) and flares. Pack an extra phone charger to keep your phone alive. Also, consider having a jumper box so you can jump your own car without having to rely on a Good Samaritan.

Looking for fall road trip ideas?