Planning the trip for Christmas, there are a few things to check. Most important, of course, is brakes. Have a good inspection of all brake components. Abnormal wear is a sign of something sticking. Check caliper slides, hoses for problems; brake fluid conditions can cause brake calipers to stick and hoses to deteriorate. This is a good time to flush brake fluid system.
Next, check condition of tires. Look for even wear. If you see uneven wear check for alignment problems or worn front suspension parts. If you have worn or loose parts, they need to be replaced. After any front end repairs, you need to do a front end alignment. Tire pressure is important. Low pressure causes improper tire wear and handling problems and more fuel consumption. High pressure causes improper tire wear and possible blowouts. Check condition of the spare tire and make sure it can be removed. Also know where your jack is located and how to use it.
Check wipers, windshield washers and clean your windshield; good visibility is needed. Your washer fluid should be a winter type fluid that could handle winter conditions. This time of the year you don’t know what type of weather you will get into.
Make sure to check your emergency kit. You need a blanket, flashlight, first aid kit and jumper cables. Make sure your cell phone is working and charged. Water and snacks could make waiting for help a little easier. When driving in winter conditions, keep your tank full of gas. If you get stranded, you will not run out of heat. If you are stranded, be sure to keep a window cracked to keep oxygen levels where they should be.