Four Pre-Road Trip Checks You Need To Do!!!

As Australians it is fairly common to need to travel long distances, for a variety of reasons, whether that be going on holidays, hospitals trips or even going to University and more often than not these trips are undertaken in our cars. This article covers four pre-road trip checks you need to do to help you avoid breakdowns and make you next road trip a stress free trip.

I have touched on all the tips inside this article previously, however the tips in this post can, and should, be used not only before a road trip but also as part of your regular car maintenance routine.

1. Coolant Level.

2. Engine Oil Level.

3. Windscreen Washers.

4. Tyre Pressures.

1. Coolant Level.

The first of the four pre-road trip checks you need to do is checking the coolant level. There is a very good reason that this is first on the list, Do you know why?…Generally speaking the following checks should be carried out whilst the car and engine is cold, and before you do any driving around, and checking the coolant level is definately on that list of checks. To ensure there is no pressure in the cooling system it is best to perform this check before you start the engine.

Regularly check the level in your cooling system is correct.

It is vital to the health of your cars engine that the coolant level is at the correct level. Failing to regularly check the cooling system may mean that you fail to realise that the coolat level, due to a slow leak, has dropped to dangerous levels which could result in overheating the engine, leading to expensive repairs like a blown cylinder head gasket or even a seized engine.

Once you have determined that there is no pressure in the cooling system, take the radiator cap off the radiator or header tank depending on the system your car has, and inspect the level, topping it up if needed. Next if your car has a recovery type cooling system you need to check the level in the coolant overflow bottle and adjust if nececssary.

Checking your cars coolant level before you embark on your road trip will ease your mind that your car will keep it’s cool during your road trip, even if you get a bit hot under the collar out on the road.

2. Engine Oil Level.

Second on the list is checking the engine oil level. Having a correct oil level is paramount in maintaining a healthy engine. By neglecting to check the engines oil level, you may not realise that there is minimal, or even no, oil left to read on the dipstick. This extremely low oil level may cause the engine’s lubrication system to starve, resulting in engine components, such as the oil pump and bearings, running dry which can, and does, lead to major engine failure and yep you guessed it, expensive repairs.

To check the oil level, start and run your car for a minute or two to warm the engine and oil up. Then park the car on some flat level ground. Next switch off the engine, open the bonnet, locate the dipstick and check the oil reading on the dipstick. The oil level should be between the high and low level marks on the dipstick.

The oil level is at the top of the cross hatching.

It is only after you have checked the oil level and determined that it is low that you should add oil to the engine, via the oil filler, remebering to only add small amounts of oil at a time, until the dipstick is reading full. Maintaing a correct engine oil level will allow your trusty steed to trustingly take you on your road trip.

3. Windscreen Washers.

How many times have you been driving along the road and gone to use the windscreen washers, only to be met with nothing squirting onto the windscreen? More times than you would like to admit I’m sure.

It is extremely annoying, and even somewhat dangerous, when a bird passes over your car and poops on your windscreen. What is worse is when you then operate your windscreen washers, to help clean it off, yet nothing comes out and the wiper blades just smear the droppings right across the windscreen, making the mess worse, instead of clearing your vision.

Windreen Washer Bottle.

To avoid this situation on your next road trip, or anytime you drive your car, top your windscreen washer bottle with water and some windscreen washer fluid, before you drive away, to help you with this crappy situation (pun intended) and provide you with clear vision.

4. Tyre Pressures.

Checking your tyre pressures, the last on our list, everyone looks at a tyre and many will say “that tyre looks flat” (I know you’ve said it), yet how many actually check them? My experience tells me that not enough drivers perform this check and of those who do check tyre pressures, a portion will just pump up the tyre until it “looks right”.

Going on a roadtrip with underinflated tyres, not enough air pressure in them, will increase your fuel usage, shorten the life of the tyre through excessive heat and abnormnal tread wear. Underinflated tyres will even make your steering feel heavier than it should, which will wear you, the driver, out faster then normal.

Overinflated tyres, too much air pressure, will make your cars steering feel excessively light which will cause abnormal tyre wear, in turn reducing the life of your tyres. An overinflated tyre will also make your driving experience feel very harsh as well as reducing the amount of grip that the tyre produces.

The above reasons are why it is important for you, the driver, to go to the service station and check the tyre pressures’ in your car and adjust them to the correct pressures’, providing you with a fuel saving, energy conserving, wear reducing and money saving safe road trip.

The four pre-road trip checks you need to do that you have just read will help you have a safer, cheaper, more relaxing and stress free road trip. All you need to do is take five to ten minutes before you head away on your road trip, to check the coolant level, engine oil level, windscreen washer fluid and tyre pressures to alow you to enjoy your drive.

Until next time remember to Adventure, Discover, Explore Every Road.

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