Tips For Preparing a Long Road Trip

It is important you check all the components of your car and be sure they are in top shape before embarking on a road trip. There are some personal checks you can carry out. The brake system of a car is the most important component. Regular checks should be carried out to confirm the state of the brake discs. Car brake pads will lose quality and elasticity by frequent use, in adverse weather conditions or by accidents. This leads to a breaking distance becoming longer and posting a security risk to the driver, passengers, and others. Brake discs that cost: £12.66  can be purchased from well-known manufacturers such as ATE online shops. This is a combination of brand quality at a low price while reducing the brake distance.

8 steps (with pictures) to check a vehicle before a long road trip

Car fluid in working condition. The fluid in the brake, windscreen wash levels, car oil and the coolant keeps the car running smoothly preventing unexpected breakdowns and accidents. The owner’s manual will give more instructions about different locations of fluid like in the power steering and the clutch (which works same as brake fluid).

Air pressure on the tyre. On the side of the tyre, the max air pressure level will be written. It should not be exceeded. Also, on the owner’s manual or a sticker where the driver’s door shuts, the maximum air pressure will also be indicated. Furthermore, check your spare tyre to be sure it is in a good working condition.

Check and change the oil. Long trips put additional strain on a car. If it is almost time to change the oil, then, it is good to change the oil before embarking on a trip. The oil filter should be replaced if it carries the old fluid. Adding new oil will not make it work properly because there will still be a residue of the old fluid in the filter. The sludge in the old filter makes the new oil not to work properly.

Use a penny or tread gauge to check for tyre wear. Have at least a tread of 1/16th inch or 1.6mm. In cases where the tread is less than 1/12th inch or 2.5mm, it is best to replace the tyre. This is because the tyre will wear down quickly. On long trips, tyres can blowout because they have been heated up.

Ensure car’s air filter is free. If there is a sufficient supply of air to the vehicle’s engine, the performance improves. The car’s cabin filter is another source of air supply and should be checked regularly.

Wash the vehicle. A clean window improves visibility. If possible, wash the entire car. The wiper blades should be checked as well and if they do not wok properly, they should be replaced.

Confirm all lights and signals are in good working condition. To check for lights, you will need the help of another person. Turn on lights and ask if they are working or not. Replace all bulbs that are not functional. If possible, carry extra bulbs in case you might need them along the way. For example, for each light you carry at least one bulb, reverse lights, tail lights, headlights, indicators and so forth.

It is still possible the car does not work because a fuse needs replacing. Check for headlights alignment and do adjust the alignments accordingly. If the headlight alignment is poor, it will reduce visibility at night on unlit roads.

Ascertain if all emergency equipments are available in the vehicle and everything works.

Emergency equipments range from a cell phone, spare tyres, to an up-to-date map. A puncture repair kit can be a good idea although not always necessary.  Also have emergency tools like screwdrivers, pliers, flashlight, and an adjustable spanner. Fire extinguishers, medical kits, and flares are needed in worse case scenarios. A reflective warning triangle is mandatory in an EU member state. If your trip will take you through a country where you change lanes, for example from a right-hand drive to a left-hand drive country, see if the beam deflectors are compulsory for your headlights. This ensures other road users are not dazzled by your headlights. For example, you are travelling from the UK to mainland Europe.

If you cannot carry out some of the checks by yourself, you can get, perhaps, a commercial oil change facility to do this for you at a reasonable price.

Clean the car of trash and other things that may cause a stench.

If you cannot get all the toolkit, ensure you have at least a flashlight and medical kits since they will prove to be most essential.

If your trip will take you to a remote area, have plenty of fuel in your tank, enough bottled water, and let someone know how long you will be gone.