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How to prepare your car for your next road trip

calendar Published on: Tuesday, 12th September 2017 | female icon Author: Aminta Gagnon

Whether youíre travelling a short distance or across the country, if youíve got a road trip coming up, itís likely youíll be excited to get on your way. However, before you even put your key in the ignition, itís important that you make sure your car is suitably prepared for the journey ahead.

Aside from ensuring your safety and the safety of your passengers, checking over your car in advance could also prevent you from experiencing a breakdown during your journey.

To help you prepare for your next adventure, here are some of the most important car checks you should carry out before you set off.

Inspect your tyres

Itís no secret that the quality of your tyres is extremely important - especially if youíre about to embark on a long journey. To make sure that you arrive at your destination safely, itís vital that you inspect this part of your car carefully before you climb into the driverís seat.

Firstly, you should take a look at each tyre, keeping an eye out for any signs of wear and tear, cuts in the sidewalls and generally checking that they are in good condition. They should be fitted correctly and inflated to the right pressure.

You should also measure the tread depth of each tyre to make sure that they are safe and legal to be used on the road. Having a sufficient amount of tread depth is vital to ensure that each tyre can grip the road properly. Should you discover that any of them arenít roadworthy, youíll need to swap them for new models. If you have the knowledge and skills, you could do this yourself, but if youíre unsure, you should enlist the help of an expert. At TyrePlus, we can change your tyres for new ones, giving you the peace of mind that comes with knowing theyíve been fitted correctly.

Asses your window wipers

Regardless of what the weather forecast predicts for your road trip, you should assess your window wipers before you set off. Even if sunshine and blue skies are expected, itís important that youíre prepared should the weather take a turn for the worse. So, before you buckle up for your journey, assess your wipers to ensure theyíre in good working condition.

Over time, itís common for your window wipers to become worn down, and as a result they can smear the windscreen, making it difficult for you to see clearly while youíre driving. Wiper blades are fairly inexpensive to buy, so if yours are looking a little tatty, you might want to think about replacing them. Ideally, you should change your window wipers at least once a year.

Top up your screenwash

Once youíve assessed your window wipers, you should also make sure you have enough screenwash and top up your levels if needed. Ideally, you should use a good quality screenwash additive diluted with water. However, if youíre taking your road trip during the winter, you may want to use undiluted screenwash. This will help stop your washer jets from freezing up in the cold weather.

Test your lights

Even if youíre not planning on driving during the evening, itís important to test that your lights are in good working condition. Checking your lights is quick and easy. Make sure they are bright, clean of debris and that there arenít any blown bulbs or cracks in the lenses. You should check your headlights, brake lights, reverse lights and fog lights, and donít forget to test your indicators too.

If your road trip sees you taking the car abroad, you may also need to apply headlamp adjusters to your lights. These little stickers divert the light from your headlamps so you donít dazzle oncoming drivers in countries where motorists drive on the right.

Take a look at your oil levels

Oil keeps your car engine lubricated so that it can work efficiently. So, before you head off on your car journey, you should spend some time examining your oil levels. Your car handbook should explain how you can do this yourself, and it should also tell you how to top it up and what type of oil to use. Using the wrong oil could damage your car, and itís also important to be careful as to not overfill your engine oil. If youíre in doubt, you could take your car to a local garage and have a professional take a look at it for you.

Make sure your brakes work

Oil keeps your car engine lubricated so that it can work efficiently. So, before you head off on your car journey, you should spend some time examining your oil levels. Your car handbook should explain how you can do this yourself, and it should also tell you how to top it up and what type of oil to use. Using the wrong oil could damage your car, and itís also important to be careful as to not overfill your engine oil. If youíre in doubt, you could take your car to a local garage and have a professional take a look at it for you.

Pack some supplies 

Oil keeps your car engine lubricated so that it can work efficiently. So, before you head off on your car journey, you should spend some time examining your oil levels. Your car handbook should explain how you can do this yourself, and it should also tell you how to top it up and what type of oil to use. Using the wrong oil could damage your car, and itís also important to be careful as to not overfill your engine oil. If youíre in doubt, you could take your car to a local garage and have a professional take a look at it for you.

Visit the petrol station

Although it might seem like an obvious thing to do, you should pay a visit to your local petrol station ahead of your journey. Aside from enabling you to drive for longer without having to stop to refuel, keeping your tank topped up is essential for your carís health. Letting your fuel level get too low could cause sediment or impurities sitting at the bottom of your tank to be sucked up by the fuel pump, which can damage your carís engine. So, to ensure that your road trip gets off to a smooth start, you could top up your tank the day before youíre scheduled to leave. Also, bear in mind that some experts suggest refueling at the half tank mark for best fuel efficiency, so make sure you don't leave it too long before filling up while you're on the road.

The majority of these checks are easy enough to do yourself. However, if youíre unsure, you could call on the help of a professional.

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