A long trip is a serious test for your car and sometimes what might seem to be minutiae could be the cause of mishaps and delays along the way if left unchecked. So before you start that engine for a long drive make sure to make the right preparations not only for yourself but also for your car. Below are long drive essentials for your car.
Gulp and have a good drink
Yes, “Gulp,” but not for yourself…this time for your car. Cars, like us, need body fluids, so make sure that your car is properly hydrated before letting it loose for a marathon.
Below are car fluids that you should check. Make sure that there’s enough fluid in each and all of them. The levels should be above the minimum level and below the maximum level. If you’re not sure how to check any of these, information will be in your vehicle’s handbook, or search online.
- Radiator fluid and coolant
- Brake fluid
- Power steering fluid
- Windshield washer fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Engine oil
Inspect the tires
Be sure to inflate your tires with the correct pressure. If unsure what the correct tire pressure is, see the manufacturer’s label (usually located in the glove box or on the B pillar) for the recommended pressure. Tires with low pressure cause extra rolling resistance because they deform more, and this causes heat buildup which could be a reason for a delamination where the tyre’s layers separate, or a blowout. Also, make sure that your spare tire is properly inflated.
People often overlook windshield wipers but a worn out and ineffective wipers create streaks on your windshield which obstructs your vision and impairs your driving. A dirty windscreen is especially dangerous when you are driving towards the setting sun. Double check your wipers and don’t hesitate to replace them if they don’t clean the windshield properly.
Check the brakes
Have your brakes checked — this is one of the most important car components. There are a few reasons that cause brakes to malfunction: hardened brake pads and/or shoes, oil or grease on the brakes, and loss of power assistance from the power brake booster (click here for more details).
Have a battery check-up
No one would like to jumpstart a car on a middle of a trip, so have your battery checked and make sure that the ignition and electrical systems are working properly. If your battery is one that needs topping up with water, check that the water level is high enough.
Make sure the air filter is clean
An air filter is recommended to be inspected every after 10,000km of mileage. It doesn’t hurt to have a look. Have a look at your manufacturer’s recommendation to see when you should replace your car’s air filter. A clean air filter will improve your fuel economy and therefore reduces fuel consumption.
Check the lights
This is often overlooked, but faulty lights are a hazard for you and for other motorists who would have a hard time gauging your distance and guessing where you want to go. Be sure to check your headlights, tail lights, blinkers and signal lights before your trip.
If your indicators flash rapidly it’s sometimes a sign that one of the bulbs has blown.
Bring the essential tools
The unexpected things do happen even If you’ve done all the necessary car check-ups. A blown out tire due to a puncture, or a discharged battery due to forgotten lights could be a hassle. Bringing the list of essential tools below could be of great help just in case a mishap happen in the middle of your trip.
- wheel wrench
- wheel lock key (if you have locks installed)
- jumper wires
- tire gauge
- basic toolkit (screwdrivers, pliers, socket wrench, work gloves etc.)