Five Car Checks Before a Long Drive
Long car journeys are becoming more and more common, whether it’s a new driver who wants to experience the freedom of the open road or a family trip to relatives in a different county. For both scenarios, the car checks should be the same. Ensuring these are completed can save money, time and even save your life.
An easy yet crucial check for any trip regardless of the distance is the tyre depth and pressure. An incorrectly pumped tyre can lead to issues such as decreased fuel economy, uneven tyre wear and even blowouts. A tyre pressure gauge is an inexpensive tool and can be kept in the car forever afterwards; alternatively, your local petrol station should have a pump with a digital readout, just make sure to check the recommended pressure in the handbook.
Checking the oil, coolant, brake fluid and windscreen wash levels can prevent an avoidable breakdown or even an accident. Refer to the owner’s handbook to find the location of the reservoirs. If you choose to top the oil up yourself it’s imperative that you don’t overfill the tank. This can lead to blown oil seals or worst case blow the engine up!
Clean air is essential for engine performance and efficiency. Changing an air filter simple and inexpensive, YouTube has a bounty of examples for every style of car. A check often passed over at a service is the pollen filter in your cabin, if worn it can adversely affect the air quality for the driver and passengers.
Check your exterior lights
For this check, an assistant is handy. Go through each light and signal individually and ask your friend to tell you if it’s working or not. Replace the bulbs as necessary. Replacing the bulbs can be completed yourself easily in older cars, a screw or clip normally holds the cover over rear lights. For new cars, however with LED lights you may need to contact your dealer as these can be difficult to locate and change.
Prepare for all scenarios!
Despite your boot being filled with luggage, it’s helpful to leave some space for essentials for an emergency. Although satnavs and mobile phones are great if their battery dies or they lose connection you could become to lost, packing an up to date map can save you from driving in circles or missing your turn off on the motorway. A spare tyre can be lifesaving on a long journey. Most new cars now come with run flat tyres or a foam filler to get you to the nearest garage, however in some cases that just not possible. A spare wheel is a better alternative as, assuming it’s fitted correctly, functions as a normal wheel.