Taking a long journey in your vehicle whether it’s for a business meeting or a fun road trip with friends should be an enjoyable and safe experience that requires your car to be up on it’s car maintenance and a few other key factors. If you’re going to be spending an extended length of time driving, you should spend a few minutes going over a few key components in your car. Simple preventative maintenance could save you a headache and a lot of money during your expedition. We’ll go over some basic things to look at from your fluids all the way to your headlights and horn.
A Basic List on Car Checks before a Long Journey
First things first, on car checks before a long journey, check to see when the last time you replaced your oil. If you had it done at a garage, you’ll have a receipt in your glove box, or possibly a sticker on your windshield that says the mileage you should have your oil replaced. Compare that mileage to the current mileage of your odometer; if you’re overdue and are planning a long drive, it’s important to get your oil changed to prevent engine damage and a variety of other issues that can come from dirty oil.
Only check fluids under your hood if your vehicle has been in the off and resting position for at least two hours.
If you’ve recently had your oil changed, it’s still important to check the levels. NOTE: Only check fluids under your hood if your vehicle has been in the off and resting position for at least two hours. Inside of the hood, especially near the engine, remains very hot for a long time after operating. Assuming your vehicle is cool, open your hood and locate your engine oil dipstick. Remove it from it’s holster by pulling it straight out and back. Using a clean paper towel or cloth, clean the dipstick off and re-insert it into your vehicle. Pull the dipstick back out and check the oil level. There will be a dot or a notch indicator on the bottom of the stick indicating if you’re low or topped off. If it indicates you’re low on oil, topping off your engine oil is a good idea. You’ll also want to check the other easily accessible fluids under the hood while you’re there. Windscreen washer fluid is extremely easy to check and top off, so start there next. Find the reservoir with an image of a windscreen or a jet of water on it and open that up and take a look inside. Windscreen washer fluid reservoirs are deep and hold a good amount of liquid, so a quick glance will tell you if you should fill it back up. A large quantity of that fluid is very inexpensive at your local auto shop or supermarket.
Other fluids that should be considered on your car checks before a long journey would be the transmission fluid, antifreeze, coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Unless you’re relatively comfortable under the hood of your car, it might be worth taking the vehicle in to a shop. If you need to get your oil changed anyways, a lot of garages will do a complimentary fluid check and top off for you.
Your Tyres MUST also be Checked.
As for other parts of your car that are important to be in good condition for a long journey, there are several belts and hoses you could eyeball or put your hand on to ensure a tight seal. Anything you’re comfortable with checking out, you can give a very light tug on. If you notice any cracks or fluid leaks in any hoses, it should be professionally inspected and repaired right away. A leaking brake fluid line could be catastrophic during a long drive. Your tyres MUST also be checked for tread, air pressure, and any punctures or leaks. A crack or puncture in the wheel during extended trips could cause minor issues to fail and cause an accident. Finally, check your brake lights, indicators, head lights, and hi-beams via a quick walk around. Beep your horn to ensure that works too in case you need to notify someone around you on the road.
Final Car Checks before a Long Journey, ensuring the comfort aspects of your interior are working is helpful. Ensure your heater and air conditioner work as well as your stereo for some music during your long journey!
A Quick once over on your Car Checks before a Long Journey:
1. Check your oil levels and top up if required.
2. Top up your windscreen washer fluid.
3. Check transmission fluid, antifreeze, coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
4. Look over belts and hoses (make sure nothing is hanging off)
5. Check you tyres for trend, air pressure or any cracks.
6. Finally check you brake lights, indicators, head lights and hi-beams
7. Not forgetting your horn.