Before any road-trip or long journey, it’s important to thoroughly check your vehicle. There is nothing worse than waiting for hours to be rescued for a fault which could have been prevented. If you’re planning a long car journey anytime soon, make sure you follow these vital car checks before setting off. It will only take around 15 minutes and could save your holiday.
It’s essential you have enough oil in your engine for a long journey, otherwise it will overheat. Check it while the engine is cold with the dipstick, and top up if necessary.
There are two things to check with the tyres – the tread and the pressure. Tread depth below 1.6mm is not only illegal, but also dangerous. If you think a tyre could be nearing the limit, get it changed at a garage when you set off. Tyre pressure should also be checked, as if incorrect you’ll cause needless wear and tear and burn more fuel.
Speaking of tyres, you don’t just need to check the four attached to your wheels. Double check you have a spare tyre kept in the back, and that the tyre and hack fits your car. You never know what could happen on a long journey!
Get a family member to stand in front of the car and then behind the car as you go through all of the lights – indicators, brake, low and full beam etc. Don’t set off on a journey unless they are all in working order.
Make sure your washer bottle is full, as you need it to clear your windscreen. You don’t know what whether you’ll experience on your trip, and you always need a clean screen for safe driving.
Check your coolant level is correct before setting off. If it’s a little low, you can top it up with water, but if you want it done professionally with antifreeze then head to your local garage.
Make sure you have the correct fuel level for the journey you are making – you don’t want to make any needless stops and you never know where the next petrol station will be.
Check the route
Finally, you need to plan your long journey well to make sure you stay safe on the road. If you are not confident on certain roads then avoid these, and check whether there will be any heavy traffic (on bank holiday weekends for example). Will you use a sat nav system or have someone reading a map and helping you? Don’t try and wing a long car journey.
Stay safe with these car checks and remember to do them every single time you’re setting off on a road-trip.