All packed up for a long trip? Before you pop your luggage into your car, you first have to be certain that your vehicle is ready to take on the long journey.
Get into the habit of carrying out a series of tests before you go on a long journey to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Here’s ten things to remember…
The owner’s manual – the owner’s manual is the top reference when you need to know the specs of your car, and it also contains information regarding which transmission fluid and engine oil to use, as well as troubleshooting instructions and tips. Make sure you have a copy of the manual in your glove compartment should something crop up that you need to check.
Engine oil, transmission fluid, and engine coolant – check all of the fluids your car uses to see if they need to be changed or refilled. Make sure to take spare engine oil, coolant, and transmission fluid on a long trip, especially if you’re not sure whether there will be service stations where you’re going.
Battery – check the condition of the battery for leaks and cracks, and inspect the terminals for corrosion. A damaged and leaky battery should be replaced. If you’ve had your battery for about five years, have it tested before you go.
Steering, suspension, drivetrain, brakes – take your car to a mechanic if you’ve been experiencing any unusual noises or vibrations in the steering or braking mechanisms of your car. A proper inspection by a certified mechanic can alert you to problems such as a damaged shock absorber or warped brake rotors. If you’re even remotely uncertain then get this looked at before you undertake a long distance trek.
Horn and lights – make sure your horn and all your lights function as they should, especially your tail and hazard lights, which you may not use as regularly.
Windshield wipers – if your wipers aren’t even coming in contact with your windshield anymore, replace them immediately. You should also check the windshield washer jets to see if they’re clogged. Bring extra washer fluid if you’re venturing out during the rainy season.
Tires – make sure your tires have the proper air pressure as indicated in your owner’s manual. Make sure the tires are balanced properly and that you have a good amount of tread left.
Spare tire, wheel wrench, and the jack – your spare tire should be the same size and have the same pressure as your other tires. Your jack should be operable and your wrench in good condition. And of course, you should know how to use them!
Basic emergency kit – you should have an emergency kit in your car that contains a flashlight with extra batteries, a basic tool kit, a tyre gauge, jump leads, rags and work gloves, fuses, an emergency stop sign, electrical tape, and a spare key. You must also have a personal emergency kit and a first aid kit.
Knowledge – Are you going into the country to an area you don’t know? Maybe you’re driving on a motorway or in a city for the first time? Refresh your knowledge of the signs of the road with free online resources.