Whether you’re off on a staycation, visiting family and friends or travelling for work, we’re all familiar with long car journeys. As you’re going to be on the road for an extended period of time, you need to make sure your car is fully equipped and ready to take on the miles ahead.There are some essential car checks you should always carry out before a long journey in order to stay safe on the roads and get from A to B without any issues.
A key area to check before a long trip is your tyres. Having the correct tyre pressure and tread depth (the legal limit is 1.6mm) is imperative when you’re out on the road as they both can impact your grip and braking ability.
When you head off on a long trip, you don’t want to have to stop for fuel 20 miles in, so make sure your tank is filled up and ready to go beforehand.
Even when you’ve filled up, be sure to keep an eye on your fuel gauge and MPG information throughout your drive so you can plan when you may need to stop, and can ensure there’s a fuelling station on your route.
A lot of newer cars can now notify you when your oil levels are running low, but if yours doesn’t, you should use the dipstick to check your oil the old-fashioned way before hitting the road.
If your oil runs out while you’re driving, you’ll be forced to stop which will delay your travels. Running out of oil can also cause a lot of damage to your engine which can be costly to repair.
To drive safely, you need good visibility, and screen wash is a big help. For example, if a lorry drives past you, showering your windscreen with dirt and mud, and you don’t have the means to wash it clean, it’s a major hazard.
It’s a legal requirement for your screen wash to work effectively, so be sure to check you have enough fluid, and if not, make sure you top it right up before setting off.
As with screen wash, your windscreen wipers are essential to maintain good visibility. In bad weather conditions, it’s incredibly important that they’re doing their job well to prevent a dangerous accident.
You should regularly check the rubber on your wipers, and if you find that it’s overly worn, you need to arrange to get it replaced. It’s usually recommended that you replace your wiper blades annually, or sooner if required.
Your brakes are one of the most important components in your car so you need to be certain they’re working correctly, especially before setting off on a long journey. If they’re overly worn, they aren’t going to perform effectively especially if you’re driving in poor weather conditions.
When you book a free Vehicle Health Check at any of our service centres, we’ll assess all your vehicle’s main components, including the brakes, and ensure your car is running at optimum performance.
Sometimes you may not even be aware that one of your bulbs has gone, but having working lights is essential for safety purposes. Go around your car ahead of your trip and check every bulb – front lights, reverse lights, indicators, brake lights and fog lights.
It’s also a good idea to clean the lenses if there’s any dirt on them to make sure the lights can be clearly seen, and check for any cracks in the casing.
It’s always a good idea to check you have all the essential equipment packed in your car before setting off on a long journey so you aren’t caught out in the event of an emergency.
You should always keep a spare wheel in your boot, plus all the equipment you need to change a wheel. A toolkit and a flashlight are also handy to have, plus plenty of food, water and other key supplies.