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The Times

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Here’s How To Prepare Your Car For A Long Journey

  • Written by The Times

Have you finally decided on that long road trip you’ve been planning for months? Congratulations! Travelling is excellent for expanding your horizons, seeing great things, and meeting incredible people.

Going on a road trip can be both fun and enjoyable, but just as with any journey, you need a bit of preparation. Everything from packing and choosing hotels and restaurants to checking your car’s vitals is essential for a smooth, hassle-free experience. This latter mentioned is, in fact, of the utmost importance, as a faulty vehicle can break your voyage. A long drive will challenge your car’s mechanisms more than usual, so ensure you spare no effort in readying the car that’s going to get you to the desired destination - and back.

If it’s your first time doing that, here’s a little reminder of what needs to be done before hitting the highway.

Top up all the fluids

Fluids are the lifeblood of any vehicle, so ensure you check them all before setting for adventure. The six essential fluids of a car include the oil, radiator fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield fluid. Of course, there are also the engine coolant and the radiator coolant that deserves just as much attention as the aforementioned ones. Thus, ensure you top up all these fluids either by yourself in your own garage (if you’re passionate about cars, you surely know what we mean) or at a car service. Motor oil is the first to be inspected; then, it’s the others’ turn. But be sure to check the fluids based on the car’s mileage. It would be helpful to consider how far you’re going to drive on the journey ahead and how far you’ve driven since your last maintenance inspection in order to decide what exactly needs more care.

Check the tires

As you’d expect, tires are essential to a comfortable road trip, so ensure you inspect their condition thoroughly before setting off. Leaving home with under-inflated or bald tires can cause not only a puncture but also something worse, such as your car stopping in the middle of nowhere or even a road accident. So, be sure to look for any embedded nails, cuts, or uneven or excessive wear. The following considerations are vital for a smooth journey:

Air pressure. You’ll find the air pressure recommended for your car on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb. Ideally, you should check tire pressure every 1000 miles, but if you plan to cover hundreds of miles in the car, it’s advisable to do this before leaving home, regardless of the miles driven so far.

Rotation. Tire rotations should be performed every 5000 to 8000 miles, but if you notice a problem in this regard, complete this as soon as possible, and don’t set off until the tires are rotated properly.

Replacement. If you spot any sidewall bulges, exposed cords, or punctures, it’s time to consider a replacement. The penny test is excellent for detecting a tire issue, so since it’s so handy, feel free to perform it as often as possible.

It’s also essential to check the tires even if you plan to leave your car at the airport parking lot. That’s because potential tire damage or a deflated tire could lead to blowouts and inevitably shorten the lifespan of your vehicle. Plus, it’s better for your own peace of mind to ensure your tires are fully inflated and in perfect condition before flying to your dream destination.

Fuel your vehicle adequately

Surely, you can fuel your vehicle at one of the many stations you’ll find on the way, but it’s still recommended to fuel your tank with petrol or diesel (it depends on what your vehicle needs) before you leave on your trip. Preferably, do so in the evening before as you might have other tasks to complete the following day - and it’s quite easy to forget this one. Even if your car is half-full, be sure to give your tank that boost of energy to avoid the unexpected. The destination you’re heading to is also paramount to consider. If the route implies some lonely roads, you don’t want to find yourself in the middle of nowhere without fuel in the tank.

However, if you’re driving just to the airport and going to leave your car at the airport parking Sydney-based, this shouldn’t be a problem. Just be sure to have enough fuel for your way there and back.

Don’t forget the air filters

As you may know, the road is a dusty place. That’s why air filters exist, after all. Vehicles use these filters to keep bugs, debris, and dust away from the engine and interior. But since everything has a capacity, so do air filters. They will eventually become clogged and, if not regularly checked on, could impact the car’s performance, interior air quality, and fuel economy. That’s why changing the air filters at least once a year or every 10000 miles is advisable. Therefore, for you and your trip companions to breathe freely and for your car to perform as intended, be sure you replace the air filters before hitting the road. Fortunately, these are easy to replace and relatively inexpensive, so you could do this change yourself.

Check if your car insurance policy is valid

No matter how thoroughly you prepare your car for this trip, the truth is that the unexpected can hit at any time. This might be everything from a flat tire to a breakdown. In this case, the best you can do is to ensure your car insurance policy is not expired. A comprehensive policy that includes add-ons such as passenger cover and breakdown assistance is the go-to variant, especially if you’re going to drive hundreds - or thousands - of miles. That’s why we recommend upgrading your insurance policy, even if it’s up-to-date. It’s just for your safety - and peace of mind.

Travelling long distances with your car is both fun and memorable, but if you don’t prepare your vehicle for the journey ahead, it can easily transform into a nightmare.


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