There are many reasons why you might want to take your vehicle on a long journey. It could be that you are visiting family for the winter holiday period. Or it might be that you are just keen to go on a road trip at some point. Whatever the case, it’s necessary that you ensure your vehicle is suitable for such a journey. In this article, we are going to take a look at a few of the things you will need to focus on in particular to ensure that this is the case. As long as you don’t overlook these things, your vehicle should last the journey safely and easily.
Cooling System & Radiator
One of the first things you should look into is the cooling system and the radiator. If there is anything wrong with either of these, it can cause you a lot of trouble on the road on a long journey. That’s because either of these being faulty could cause the engine to overheat, which is not only potentially extremely damaging to the vehicle itself but also one of the most dangerous problems that can arise in terms of the personal safety of everyone in the vehicle – as well as other people on the road. The last thing you want is for your car to set on fire as you are driving it.
So, before you set off, make sure that you are checking these for any issues by turning on both and seeing what happens after a few minutes. Keep a close eye, in particular, on the temperature gauge, which should reach the normal halfway point and then stay there as long as the engine is on. If it does anything else, take your car to be checked over – and certainly don’t take it anywhere on a long journey.
Tires & Wheels
As the only part of the vehicle that ever comes into contact with the road, the wheels are clearly very important. In fact, it is the tires that truly come into contact with the road, and that is why they need regular checks, whether or not you are taking the car on a long journey. The most important thing here is to check that the tires are inflated to the proper pressure point – you can check online for the right pressure point for your make and model of car – and that the tread is within the normal legal limit. As long as that is the case, your vehicle is more likely to be ready for a long journey.
As well as the tyres, you need to make sure that the wheels themselves are in working order. In fact, they generally will be, but there will be times when you need to try and replace them with new ones, such as when they are particularly old and worn. If so, make sure that you are buying the right kind – whether that means getting hold of 4×4 wheels, or whichever might be suitable for your vehicle.
We looked earlier at the importance of the cooling and heating systems. While you are checking those, you should also specifically look at the level of the coolant liquid in the car, as this is something that you should not drive without. If it is low, then your engine might struggle to maintain an even temperature. It’s a simple case of checking the liquid level and topping it up as necessary – usually with half water, half coolant liquid. But if you have none, at the very least you should put water into the coolant tank. You really should not overlook this essential act before you drive on a long trip.
Clearly, the brakes are always going to be one of the most important parts of a vehicle, and this is true of any journey. But as everything is so much more important when you are driving on a long journey, you need to make sure that your brakes are okay. That basically means keeping an eye and ear out for all of those signs which indicate that the brakes might not be operating at their best, or that they are about to start failing. For instance, if there is a squeaking noise or they are taking longer to work, it might be time to have them replaced. If you are anything less than one hundred percent certain, you should have them checked out by a professional, just to make sure.
It might sound basic, but you really should make sure that you have enough fuel in the tank to last your journey – or as much of the journey as possible. If you find yourself without fuel and breaking down as a result, you are potentially going to be placing yourself in a very dangerous situation, especially if you happen to be on a smart motorway when it happens for instance. So, make sure that you are filling it up before you go anywhere, and keep an eye on it as you drive to ensure it does not get too low. As long as you do that, you should find that your vehicle is going to be much more ready for the long journey you have in mind – whatever that journey might be.
Windscreen Wipers & Fluid
There is a reason that the windscreen wipers and windscreen fluid are important parts of the MOT – if these are not in full operation, it can cause a lot of trouble for the vehicle. You are certainly not going to be as safe if these things are not working properly and fully, so you need to make sure that you are thinking about this before you go. In particular, make sure that you have enough wiper fluid in the tank and that the wipers themselves are still in operation and working as they should. If you fail to do this, it could result in a deadly accident, so it really is hugely and centrally important that you don’t overlook it.