SETTING off on a long drive might be necessity or it might be for an exciting break, but it pays to carry out checks before you hit the road.
Running into trouble away from home can make it trickier to fix issues, and add an unwanted delay to your journey.
A dodgy tyre or oil warning light can quickly stop you in your tracks, and unwanted delays are always best avoided.
Make sure you’re set for the journey ahead with this four-point guide on the key checks to make before you set of.
Because taking a little time to carry them out can save you time, frustration and unexpected stops.
Under the bonnet
Use a dipstick to check your oil levels and make sure your coolant or antifreeze fluid is topped up too.
If you’re running low on screen wash, make sure you fill this up to the max mark and take some with you, just in case. Check your air filter is clean – if not, you’ll want to replace it before you leave.
Look over your belts to ensure there’s no cracking, and move them up and down to see whether they need tightening. If they’re not in great condition, get them replaced.
Your tyres should be at the right pressure before setting off. You can find recommended air pressure on the tyres themselves or in your owner’s manual.
While you’re there, check the tread of your tyres with a 20p coin. Place it inside the groove of your tyre and see if the outer band on the coin is visible. If you can’t see it, your tyres are legal. If not, they might be below the legal limit.
Take a close look at your tyres to check for any damage too – keeping an eye out for any cracking or bubbles.
Make sure your headlights, tail lights and fog lights are all in working order.
Test your indicators and your horn too, to ensure you can effectively alert other drivers to your presence and your movements.
Your license plate also needs to be well lit and clean enough to be made out.
Once you’ve topped up your washer fluid, test your windscreen wipers.
See if they’re doing a good job of clearing your screen or leaving water marks over it instead.
They could be cracked if they’re not working very well, in which case you’ll need them replaced before you go.
If they’re not cracked but still not cleaning effectively you should get them changed.
As well as the above, you’ll also need to check whether you have everything you need in case of an emergency flat.
If you have a spare wheel, make sure it’s in good shape and you’ve got your car jack and locking nut key in case you need to change it along the way. Also check for restrictions on where on the car it might be used and any advised speed restrictions required when using it.
It’s not a legal requirement to journey with a spare, and you may have sealant and an inflation kit to deal with punctures. However, any repairs should be treated as a short-term option before getting a proper replacement.
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