How to Perfectly Prepare your Car for a Road Trip

Car care can seem like a massive pain however it’s not nearly as bad as having an adventure ruined by a preventable problem. Your car works hard on a road trip, so it is particularly important to conduct vehicle maintenance and give it what it needs to keep running before you set off. We have put together a list of top maintenance tips.​

General Maintenance Checks

Before setting off for a road trip an essential must is to conduct general maintenance checks on your vehicle. This will prepare your vehicle for a safe journey. Below lists the components that must be maintained and checked to ensure your car is in a good working order:

Brakes: Over time your cars brakes will wear away and become too thin to effectively work; this will become apparent when you begin to hear harsh grinding sounds or screeching noises. If this happens your brakes need replacing prior to your vehicle being used, changing the pads will get rid of the noises and ensure your car safe for the road.

Lights: Conduct a full vehicle check to ensure all lights are working and that no bulbs have burnt out. To do this, make sure our car is turned off, leave it in neutral, switch the headlights on and walk around the vehicle to make the inspection.

Air Filter: In order to stop harmful chemicals from entering the inside of a vehicle; air filters are used to block out substances and keep your car as clean as possible. However, these air filters will reach maximum levels and need to be replaced on average once a year to ensure they are effectively working. Before a road trip you should check to see that your vehicles air filter is at the correct level.

Coolant: Also known as anti-freeze, coolant is vital for your engine as it helps to keep the temperature at the optimum level. By visually checking the coolant level you can inspect whether this is too low or high and ensure this is returned to a safe level.

Oil: You must ensure your vehicles oil level is between the minimum and maximum marker, this can be done in your vehicle information on most modern cars, although may have to be done by checking the dipstick on some older vehicles.

Tyres: Checking your tyres is vital before setting of on any long car journey. You must ensure the tread depths of your tyres are above the legal requirement of 1.6mm as well as the pressure amount being correct. Before setting of on a road trip you need to make sure you have the right equipment required to fix a punctured tyre during a journey.

Carry the Correct Documentation

While on the road you can be stopped by the police for any reason and asked to provide certain documentation; this includes driving license, insurance policy and MOT certification. Though it is highly recommended to carry these documents in your car, you will be required to show it at a Police Station within a 7 day period if you fail to present the documentation. Additionally, ensure to arrange breakdown cover before you set off for a road trip. Despite your vehicle being highly prepared, there is still a chance of breakdowns or accidents occurring therefore attaining breakdown cover is essential. It is recommended to carry your breakdown cover documents within your vehicle at all times especially when travelling long distances. 

Pack the Essentials

Packing your car with the correct items before a car journey is vital due to any potential danger or emergency. The most important items include a first aid kit, torch, red warning triangle, warm clothing/high vis clothing, bottled water and snacks, all which will come in use in emergency circumstances. Don’t forget to pack your car gadgets such as a sat nav, phone holder, dashcam, aux music cable and in-car charger. 

Ensure Car Cleanliness

In preparation for a road trip, you should organise your car appropriately as well as ensuring cleanliness both inside and out the vehicle. It is important to wash the exterior of your car to remove any marks or objects that may decrease visibility. When cleaning the interior pay specific attention to the areas you frequently come into contact with such as seat, dashboard, floor mats and storage components. Ensure your boot is cleaned out to fit luggage in or any other belongings that require storing throughout the journey. Additionally, remember to organise your vehicle interior by clearing out waste before setting off and arranging storage areas; an idea is to designate a car bin or bag for rubbish which will help keep the car as clean as possible.

Vehicle Health Check from Williams

Get complete peace of mind before a long journey, with a full vehicle health check from Williams. A 20 minute check includes all of the below items:

All lights
Heat blower
Horn
Battery
Fluid levels including coolant, screen wash, steering and engine oil
Steering mobility
Brake Pads and Brake Discs
Wiper-blades
Tyre pressure and treads
Drivebelt
Exhaust

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