Cars are great, aren’t they? Really, they’re fab. Mine is like a mobile disco. All my favourite tunes accompanying me everywhere I go. It has taken me to many many places – some of them a lot nicer than others, let me tell you, but most of the time, my journey is amazing. Except… when it isn’t.
Okay, it isn’t MY car – but here I am with A car!
The problem is not the car, the problem is me. The car is a machine, so of course it is going to develop faults. it is going to break down. But the responsibility falls to me to make sure my car is in tip-top condition before I take it anywhere, so I’ve started to carry a standard list that I make myself check before every time I need to go on a long journey.
Okay, so its not technically a car fault and it definitely isn’t going to cause a vehicular break down – but having a handy collection of awesome tunes to belt out as I sail down the motorway is going to curb any road rage that I might have otherwise had, so making sure I have a bangin’ playlist is at the top of my list befor any long distance journey.
Tyre tread and pressure
Now to get to the real stuff: checking your tyres before you go anywhere is the most important thing to do. The last thing you need is a blowout; not only would it be scary and expensive, but it can be incredibly dangerous for you and other drivers. Thankfully Jet Wheel offers puncture repair services in its local depots, but I like to also make sure that my tyre pressure is in the safe zone and that there is plenty of tread on my tyres. The legal limit for tyre tread is 1.6mm, but ideally it should be 3mm to make sure you will stay safe for your whole journey. Top tip: slot a 20p piece in to the tread of your tyres. Your tread should obscure the outer band of your 20p – if you can see where the outer band begins, you should look in to getting new tyres.
The big five
There are five fluid levels that need to be checked before any long drive. This needs to be done while the engine is still cold, and while the car is on a flat surface. The five fluids that should be your priority before any long drive are oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and your windscreen washer fluid. And yes, I have to Google them too before I do them. No shame in checking you’re doing something properly!
Again, it isn’t a technical issue – but I like to make a list of every service station and petrol station I’m going to pass along the way so that I never get caught short – in terms of petrol, and my own bladder! I also make sure I have the details of my recovery vehicle/breakdown assistance service to hand because if I don’t, I will almost definitely break down in the middle of nowhere with no 4G to look it up.
The last thing I like to check is that every light in the car is doing what its supposed to be doing. This includes my indicators, my break lights, and of course my headlights and fog lights. If I don’t have a handy teenager around to stand outside of my car and let me know that they’re working, make sure I pull in close to my house and test my lights at night so that I can see them shining on the building.
What are your handy hints to make sure your car is in tip top condition before you travel? Let me know if you think I’m missing anything – and have a good journey!