Before going long trip, you should check your vehicle to make sure that it is in good condition and running smooth. This will help you to drive safe and avoid any breakdowns or mechanical issues.
Check the fluids of vehicle: Checking the oils, coolant, brake, clutch, steering fluid and windscreen wash levels may help you avoid an accident or an unnecessary breakdown. Refer to your owner’s manual to see where fluid reservoirs are located.
Check Tyre air pressure & Tyre condition: These should be printed in the owner’s manual or a sticker on the body where the driver’s door shuts. The pressure marked on the side of the tire is the max, which must not be exceeded. Also, don’t forget to check your spare tire pressure and check also tire condition wear by using a penny or tread gauge. Ensure you have at least 1/16th” or 1.6mm tread left. If the tread is less than 1/12″ or 2.5mm, consider replacing your vehicle tyres for very long journeys as they will wear down more quickly. Tires heat up on long trips which can cause blowouts on worn out tires.
Check filters: Clean air filter to improve the vehicle engine performance and efficiency. Also check and change your car cabin AC (pollen) filter if it has one, as these are often ignored in services and, if worn, adversely affect the quality of air in the cabin.
Check to be certain that all lights and signals are functional: You may need the help of another person for this. Sit in the car, turn on each light or signal and ask your friend to tell you if it is working or not. Replace bulbs as necessary. Also consider carrying spare bulbs on a road trip (at least one for each light eg. headlights, indicators, tail lights, reverse lights). Changing bulbs (especially front) can take time in modern cars, so don’t leave this to the last minute if bulbs need changing. Lights may not work because a fuse needs replacing. Consider checking your headlights alignment and adjusting the alignment if it is incorrect as poor headlight alignment will reduce visibility at night, especially on unlit roads.
Check battery: Heat can zap the life from a car battery, so if the battery is more than three years old, it’s a good idea to have it tested by a trained technician to determine how much longer it will last. Clean any corrosive buildup from the battery terminals and cable clamps and make sure the clamps are tight enough so they won’t move.
Just in case – Be prepared for breakdowns and Keep those items: Even with proper preventive maintenance, breakdowns can still occur. Be prepared by packing a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle.
- Jumper cables
- Road flares or reflective triangles
- Extra engine oil
- Extra fluids
- Windshield wiper fluid
- Basic hand tools
- First aid kit