If you’re going on a long-distance 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 are 5 quick checks you can do yourself which help make driving long distances safer and without worries:
1. Engine oil level check
The oil in your engine helps to keep your engine running smoothly which is exactly what we want on a long drive. The engine oil 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 over longer distances, and will also 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
As we’re in the UK, sudden downpours are more than likely to happen when you’re on a long car 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 leave for your long journey.
Learn more about coolant and why it is important in our comprehensive guide to car fluid.
5. Light check
If you’re going on a long-distance 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.