How should I prepare my car for a cross-country road trip?

John Paul, AAA Northeast's Car Doctor, answers a question from a reader planning a long trip in his 2009 Accord.

The 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Sedan.
The 2009 Honda Accord EX-L V6 Sedan. –Honda

Q. My 2009 V6-powered Honda Accord has been a great car. It has about 105,000 miles on it. Other than getting oil changes, I haven’t done anything in terms of maintenance. I’m planning a cross-country road trip, and I plan to buy four new tires to prepare for it. What else should I do?

A. When you go to have your tires installed, the shop should do a few things. The shop should check your brakes and make any necessary repairs. Also, the vehicle’s wheel alignment should be checked. As the alignment is performed, the steering and suspension system will be inspected, too. Since your vehicle is 10 years old, have them look at the battery, belts, and cooling-system hoses. One final item is the timing belt, which should be replaced before any long trips.

John Paul is AAA Northeast’s Car Doctor. He has over 40 years of experience in the automotive business and is an ASE certified master technician. Email your car question to