A Quick Guide to Planning a Road Trip

After several months of wet and icy roads, surreal blue skies and comforting weather are compelling reasons to load up your vehicle and hit the road.

However, all your planning will quickly go awry if you cannot rely on your car. An operative failure on your daily travel back and forth is one thing, but what if your beloved automobile refuses to move along and leaves you trapped miles away from home? Of course, we all know that frequent upkeep of your car is necessary year-round, but it is of critical importance before a road trip.

Here are some checks you need to complete:

1. Coolant

When the vehicle is running and the engine is hot take a sniff. If a sickly sweet odour hits your nose you probably have a coolant leakage. Moreover, if you spot yellow or green streaks on the engine-oil dipstick, the probability is close to surety. Therefore, get it checked out.

2. Oil

Oil is critical for an engine. It lubricates moving components such as the crankshaft, pistons and camshaft to prevent friction. Remember, oil must be changed every 3k to 5k miles. If you have already gotten an oil change within that mileage, use a dipstick to assess the condition of the oil. If it is black or below the minimum, get it checked immediately.

3. Belt, hoses and timing belt

Look under the hood of your automobile to spot signs of trouble. For instance, squeeze the belts to ensure they are tight. Also search for any noticeable fraying, cracking or missing teeth in the belts. Lastly, check the hoses to see if there is any fluid leakage, especially close to the joining points. Having a hose break in the middle of a drive can cause havoc for an engine.

4. Battery

Get your battery examined and be cautious by also buying a backup. It is economical to pay for a durable battery, as opposed to paying for someone to come and help you when you’ve broken down (and then having to buy a new battery anyway). Whether you’re travelling in your car, a van or a motor home, Yuasa batteries are the battery of choice as they’re extremely reliable. You can explore the range Hardwarexpress have (https://www.hardwarexpress.co.uk/yuasa-78-c.asp) if you’re planning a long road trip and want to get prepared.

5. Air filter

A road is a dirty venture with debris, dust and bugs all around. Therefore, manufacturers install air filters to prevent gunk from entering the interior or the engine. However, gradually an air filter reaches its capacity and becomes clogged, conceivably affecting the engine performance and economy of fuel, and unquestionably polluting interior air quality. Air filters should be changed nearly every 12k miles.

6. Tires’ Tread and Air pressure

Tires require two things to function properly – tread and air. To check the tread’s depth, insert the head side of a penny into it. If you can see the inner part you need new tires.

Underinflated tires waste gas while over inflated ones deteriorate the ride quality as they are less compliant. Also, an inaccurate air pressure can cause tires to wear raggedly, which will call for replacement sooner. Remember to check tire pressure about every 1k miles.

7. Windshield

Do not forget to clean your windshield inside out and substitute frayed wiper blades (one-piece blades provide an optimised performance).

8. Brakes

It is affordable to get your brakes inspected as the auto-mechanic will also examine the complete braking system, including the master cylinder, wheel cylinders callipers and brake lines. It is critical to ensure the health of your car’s brake fuel. If your automobile’s pedal feels squishy or has extra mileage, the fluid may well be contaminated.

9. Fuel

Keep your fuel tank well above half-capacity to avoid forming condensation as it may lead to a frozen fuel line. You also don’t want to run out of fuel whilst out on the roads!

10. Exterior lights

Get into your car and take an evening ride to carefully observe the brightness of the brake lights, reverse lights and turn signals. If your headlight covers seem slightly grubby head to a body shop for a wax job to considerably improve your lighting.

It is an open secret that vehicle care can be a pain. However, it is not anywhere near as bad as having a thrill-ride ruined by problems that could have been averted.