5 Checks To Prepare Your Car For Long Distance Drives

Car maintenance can be an incredibly tedious affair. It takes time, costs money, and can generally seem pretty daunting. Just keep in mind, however, that a little bit of maintenance from time to time can help to keep your car running smoothly for longer, saving you money in the long run. If you’re going on a long drive it’s worth doing a quick maintenance check-up to ensure your car is all good to go, and for you to stay safe on the road. Here’s 5 quick checks you can do yourself to help you on your way.

1. Engine oil level check

The oil in your engine helps to keep your engine running smoothly. It acts as a lubricant to ensure all the metal parts can slide past each other smoothly. It’s essential the oil level is checked regularly. It’s easily done by way of checking the oil dipstick in your engine bay. The oil level should be between the recommended minimum and maximum level indicated on the dipstick. Check our full guide here.

“Check your oil levels at least once per fortnight and before really long journeys” – Russell from Birmingham with 25+ Years Experience

2. Tyre pressure check

Manufacturers advise to periodically check the tyre pressure, as pressures will drop over time. Deflated tyres lead to bad handling and increased fuel consumption and on top of that, your tyres will wear out quicker.

Having the correct tyre pressure therefore can help to make your car safer to drive, and will help you save money. To check the tyre pressure you could get a portable tyre inflator, but you could just as easily go to your local petrol station where a pressure tool will be available as well. Read our complete guide to tyre pressures here.

3. Wiper blade check

Let’s face it, we’re in the UK, so sudden downpours are more than likely to happen when you’re on a longer journey. To ensure road visibility is not impaired by bad weather conditions it’s important your wipers are working properly. In particular make sure your wiper blades are able to move smoothly across your windscreen. Worn wiper blades will struggle to clear all the rain, and will leave streaks on the windscreen. Over time, worn wiper blades can even damage your windscreen. Getting them replaced regularly is vital, especially if you’re going on a long drive.

4. Coolant level check

The coolant in your car helps to ensure that your engine doesn’t overheat. It’s vital to ensure the level of coolant in the car is right to prevent expensive repairs. The coolant reservoir is easily accessible in your engine bay. Check that the level is between ‘full’ and ‘low’ (or ‘min and ‘max’). If the coolant has dropped below the minimum level, make sure to top up with fresh coolant before you drive the car again.

5. Light check

If you’re going on a long drive make sure that all your lights are working properly. You can do so by checking that all lights are switching on, and that the intensity of the light is right. It’s probably best to get someone to help with that as you test the headlights, brake lights, indicators and fog lights.

Apart from that, also ensure that the headlight lens covers are clear. Over time dirt will build up and scratches will appear, which can lead to a weaker beam.

About Kurt Schleier

Resident classic car enthusiast and blogger at Clickmechanic.