There are lots of reasons we drive long journeys, whether it’s an annual holiday, visiting family members or for business. The thing that links all these things together is the car – you won’t be getting far if it isn’t in tip top condition.
Preparing for a long journey is really important. You’re driving far enough without having to deal with the additional stress and inconvenience of a breakdown or car troubles. You’re going to potentially be a long way from home, which makes it much more difficult to get help, and you’re going to potentially have young passengers to look after at the same time. So there’s every reason to save yourself time, money and effort by preparing your car well for a long journey.
Just some simple preparations will help you avoid many common issues.
Here are some tips to help you:
A Month Before
It may seem like a long time before you go, but, it really is best to start preparing early. After all, it gives you more chance to deal with any unexpected issues, and gives you more time to relax in the days leading up to your journey.
Your priority should be getting any major repairs or work done on your car. If you need work doing on your car, get it booked in at least a month before your journey. If the repair takes longer than expected, or is more complex than expected, this leaves lots of time for the issues to be resolved.
You should also make sure you have breakdown cover. Some companies will have a period after you sign up in which you are not covered, so make sure you buy cover at least a month before you leave to ensure you are covered when you take your journey. Have the breakdown company policy and number in your glove box so it’s at hand if you do breakdown. It’s also worth having a reputable tyre repair company number on hand as well, like www.bktyres.co.uk as this could save you time and money if you have a puncture than can be fixed at the break down site.
Check your tyres before you go to make sure they are inflated to the recommended pressure (in the handbook). When filling your tyres, check them over visually for any signs of tire tread wear. If the tyre has wear in one specific place it could mean your wheels are misaligned. If you can see visible tyre damage, you might need to invest in some new tyres. It’s also worth checking the spare tyre is in good condition, as if you need to replace a tyre on your journey, your spare will be no good if it is flat or worn.
You should also ensure your keys are working well. Modern keys need batteries to work properly so if your fob is unresponsive or slow to respond, get the batteries changed before your journey.
A Week Before
Now is the time for basic maintenance like oil checks, tyre checks and car cleaning. Get rid of any unwanted items out of the car as they will add weight and cause the car to drive under more pressure, and cause you to burn more fuel. You should also get yourself a paper road map. Whilst our phones and satnavs are brilliant for guiding us to locations, you cannot rely on technology all the time. You may lose signal or battery, so it’s always best to go analogue and have a paper map just in case.
The Day Before
You need to be checking your car over again. It might seem unnecessary but problems can arise at any time, especially if you’ve driven your car since your last check. Check your tyres, fill up your tank and check things like oil, water and lights. You should also get your car completely cleaned, it’s never a bad thing to have a clean car, especially when you’re going to be spending hours in it. This is also the time to be adding things to the car like mini first aid kits, blankets, snacks and any other items you may need in case you break down. It’s never a bad thing to be pessimistic when it comes to taking a long journey, then if the worst does happen you’re definitely prepared.