Breaking down on a long distance car journey can be stressful to say the least. We often push our bodies and cars to the limits when undertaking a lengthy road journey. So why are we surprised when our car decides it has had enough? Even if you have adequate breakdown cover, you would rather not have to rely on their help if possible. There are a few checks and preparation techniques that will cut down the chances of you ever needing to call the breakdown truck again.
The first thing that you should do is have a quick look around the car and see what condition it is in. You may spot something untoward about the tires or perhaps some leakage will be noticed. All too often we just jump in the car without paying any attention to its state. Sit inside the car and check all of the electrical control items such as the indicators and windscreen wipers. The lights and horn are vital when it comes to your safety. And do not forget the heating and air conditioning efficiency, very important for your personal comfort issues.
Unless you are very handy with all things car related, you will probably need to ask a mechanic to check over your pride and joy. They should be happy to check the following features:
- Battery – They should run a health check on this
- Brakes – Check the fluid level and the condition of the discs and pads.
- Fuel pump and hoses
- Exhaust system – check for leaks and any damage.
- Transmission system – check the levels and the mechanics of the gear box.
- Radiator – The coolant system should be working efficiently.
You should ensure that you have a full tank of gas, but also the coolant and brake/transmission levels should be correct. Take this time to check for any leaks or spills that indicate bigger problems to come. Your engine oil needs to be above the minimum level and should be nice and clean as well.
Your safety is going to be compromised greatly if your tires are not in good condition. You should check the overall tread of each tire and if any of them look to be on the low side, replace them before you embark. You should also check the tire pressure every week to ensure you can control the car adequately. If you have a full load, you can adjust the pressure as advised by your cars handbook. A decent tire pressure will also ensure that you are suing gas economically.
Pack a warm blanket in case the heating decides to stop working. Also pack some extra food just in case of emergencies. You can buy an emergency road kit at most car accessory stores; they can be a godsend if you should ever breakdown. You should also study your route and ensure that you have an alternative route of the main road becomes compromised.