When preparing for your next road trip there are a few things that I recommend you check just to make that next adventure safer while on the open road. If possible, it is always recommended that you see your local dealer for a comprehensive safety check.
If you have your own pressure gauge that is a bonus, however almost every service station has the facilities to check your own tyre pressure. The recommended on road tyre pressure can quite often by found on the outside wall of the tyre itself. Depending on the surface conditions depends on the pressure you should use, for example, beach or off-road driving will require different pressures to on-road driving.
Almost everyone forgets to check their spare tyre pressure and while your down there make sure it's also safely secured for the trip. If towing a van or trailer don't forget to perform the same checks on all wheels and tyres. The tread on your tyres is incredibly important as the part of the tyre touching the ground at one time is about the size of your hand. If there is any doubt in your ming please contact your local dealer or tyre shop.
To do this you do not need to be a mechanic or a car person. If you are unfamiliar with what to do, check the manual of the vehicle you are driving and you will find a step by step guide on how to perform this task and where to look. I would suggest the best time to check these levels is in the morning when the engine is cold so that you get the most accurate reading but also so you don't burn yourself or risk further injury. The overflow bottle for the coolant in particular will have markings indicated for when it is full or low. The coolant is what keeps the engine at the best temperature and prevents the car from overheating. Most vehicles have a dipstick for the oil level. Remove the dipstick and, using a clean rag or paper towel, wipe off any oil or residue and slide it back into the tube. Remove the dipstick again a few seconds later and you will now be able to tell your oil level due to the markings on the bottom of the dipstick and where the oil mark finishes.
A simple test to make sure your wipers are working effectively, and that the washers are spraying properly, is often something that is an afterthought when preparing for a trip. If you require new rubbers it is a simple process to change them over. If you have a rear wiper, don't forget to check that also. The washer bottle is located under the bonnet and is usually well highlighted. Make sure it is filled before you leave.
If you are going for a long trip I would definitely suggest that you take your spare key with you just in case. There would be nothing worse than losing a key and not having access to your vehicle while on your trip.
It's always a good idea to have a look under your vehicle and check for any noticeable oil leaks or any other substance that may be leaking from the motor vehicle. Keeping in mind that if the vehicle has been running and you have had the air conditioning running there may be some water dripping from the condensation build up and there is nothing to worry about! However, if you notice anything else, please take your car to your local dealer for inspection.
I hope these tips help you on your next journey. Last, but not least, always have a bottle of water on board, first aid kit, mints, pair of socks, tissues, plastic bags and a peg!
When you're out on the open road listening to your Abba CD, your passengers have their pillows up against the window, and the world is passing you by, just remember, "Rossco's Top Tips for Road Trips" helped get you there!
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