Whether you’re planning a romantic trip with your partner, a fun getaway with friends, or an exciting adventure with your family, a long road trip can be the perfect way to travel on your own terms. When you’re driving, you don’t need to worry about things such as checking in for flights, catching public transport, or finding alternative routes – you can simply get behind the wheel and go where you like, whenever you like!
However, the one thing that you don’t want to happen during your trip of a lifetime is for your car to break down! Most of the time, our cars are quite robust and go through a lot, however, a long road trip puts a lot of strain on a car engine that isn’t usually there during day-to-day use. So, before you set off, it’s important that you fully prepare your car to make sure that the risk of it breaking down half-way is as low as possible. We’ve listed a checklist of the main things to do to make sure that your car is up for the job.
#1. Get a Service:
Even if your car isn’t due to have its annual service, getting an interim service before you head out on your road trip is a good idea. This will ensure that your car is in safe working order, for example, the oil and brake fluid levels are filled correctly, it has enough water in the engine, and there is enough coolant to keep it running smoothly even for prolonged driving periods. During the service, you could even ask the mechanic to check things such as your brakes and clutch, to make sure that they are working correctly and unlikely to cause any problems during your road trip. For more information, check out these BMW service options.
#2. Check the Battery:
Car batteries tend to last a long time, and whilst you’re driving your car around, this will keep the battery charged for the next time that you use the car. If you haven’t been experiencing any problems with your car battery prior to your road trip, then it’s unlikely that you’ll have any problems whilst on the road, however, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Get a professional mechanic to check your car battery to ensure that it’s in full working order. It’s also a good idea to obtain some jump starting leads to have in your car once you set off, just in case any issues with the battery do arise. Remember that battery problems can always be caused by simple thing such as forgetting to turn off your lights, which can happen to anybody!
#3. Make Sure the Lights are Working:
When you’re taking a long road trip, the last thing that you need is for the electrics on your car to fail. Broken tail lights or headlights, for example, aren’t just dangerous when driving in the dark or weather causing bad visibility – they can also be illegal and a valid reason for you to be pulled over, which will surely ruin your trip. Before you set off, you should check all the lights and make sure that they are working properly – do they turn on first time, and when they are on, do they look clear or is the light dim or cloudy? If it is the latter, then you may need to have your bulbs changed. Taking some spare bulbs along and learning how to change them yourself is also a good idea that can help prevent any unnecessary light-related problems. Lastly, don’t forget to check that your indication lights, brake lights and reversing lights are also working correctly – this can be done easily with the help of a friend.
#4. Check Your Tires:
A punctured or flat tire can be a very annoying thing to deal with whilst on a long road trip, and it can also put you at a higher risk of danger, especially if your tire goes flat whilst you’re driving at speed along a highway, for example. Before you leave, you should fully check your tires to make sure that they are at the correct tread depth, and check them for any signs of extreme wear and tear, such as rips or bulges in the side wall, that could cause problems when you are driving. You should also check the tire pressure to ensure that it is in line with the number given in your car owner’s manual. Most of the time, tire pressure can be rectified by simply adding air, however, if there are further problems with your tires, then you might want to consider getting a replacement before you leave.
#5. Check the Brakes:
The brakes are one of the most important parts of your car. Before you set off on a lengthy road trip, it’s crucial that you’re sure that your brakes are working correctly. To check the brakes yourself, you should drive your car to a quiet, empty area and carry out an emergency stop – this is done by firmly and sharply pressing down on the brakes to bring the car to a standstill immediately. It’s also a wise idea to have your brakes checked by a professional before you set off; they will be able to look at the mechanics of the car to find out whether the brake pads are worn down, for example.
#6. Park Carefully:
Lastly, it’s important to make sure that you don’t overload your car when packing it up for a road trip. Not only can heavy loads make the handling and steering of a car more difficult for the driver, it will also cause the car to use up more gas, which can be an expensive experience for you. In addition, too much luggage packed into the car can also increase the negative effect that it has on the environment through carbon emissions. So, pack as lightly as possible for your comfort and safety.
Did these tips help? We would love to hear from you in the comments.