When preparing to go on a long drive it’s important to make sure your car is in absolute tip-top condition before you leave, and that you have all of the resources you might need, with you.
The last thing you want to happen is for your car to break down miles from anywhere, halfway through a long drive. And the good news is, the steps you need to take are simple so there is no need to stress. For this post we asked the team behind Big Motoring World, an online source for the best used cars, and they gave us these practical tips on how to get your car ready for that long drive.
1. Share your trip plan with someone
If you are going on a long drive it’s always a good idea to tell someone where you are going so that there is a contact at home who can help and who you can call if things were to go wrong with your car.
2. Get your car prepared
Book your car in for a service before you go off on a long trip, so make sure your oil is changed or topped up and change the air filters. You also need to check your tyres and brakes before heading out.
3. Clean out the car
Remove all the garbage from inside the car and get it cleaned thoroughly so there is no dirt or debris which could cause problems to your car performance on your journey. You will also need to make space for your luggage and for everything you will need for the journey itself including drinks, food and other provisions.
4. Check your spare tyre
You need to make sure your spare tyre is in good order and you have all the tools you need within the car to actually change a tyre should you suffer a puncture or other tyre-related issue.
5. Bring cleaning materials
You should bring in cleaning cloths and towels for clearing windscreens, cleaning up spills and for cleaning hands if any maintenance work is needed or to wipe the dipstick when checking oil levels.
6. Sort out your breakdown cover
It’s important to sort out your breakdown cover in case anything should go wrong on your trip and that includes making sure you have your spare keys somewhere that works even if you lock yourself out i.e. Not in the car!
7. Make sure you have all your chargers
If you are taking devices with you such as your phone, tablet, sat nav etc… make sure you bring your chargers and any plug adapters which you will need on your journey. You need to be able to communicate with the outside world.
Don’t forget to pack your sunglasses and sun shades for the windows to protect you from the sunlight while driving on your long trip. Sun cream is also advisable to avoid suffering sunburn, for example, if you drive with the window down exposing one arm to the outside.
9. Create a car survival kit
Make your own survival kit so that you have essential tools and materials to hand in case of a breakdown or accident. Some of the things you need to include are a tow rope, torch, tools, warning signs, first aid kit.
10. Check your wipers
Driving long distance requires a clear windscreen so check your wipers and wiper fluid levels before you leave. Top up your wiper fluid before you go to make sure you don’t run out and you can always carry a bottle of ready-made fluid with you in the boot.
11. Plan your trip
Make sure you have planned your trip effectively and know your route. Look at places to stop for fuel and to rest, before you set off and know your driving limits. If you are not used to driving more than an hour at a time then make sure you plot your trip and don’t have unrealistic expectations.
12. Drive carefully
With a long drive the key is to take it safely and steady – avoid speeding and make sure you take steps to avoid getting bored or tired from the route. It’s important to have stimulus such as music and conversation while driving long distances. If you find yourself getting tired or bored then pull over and take a stop to freshen up and liven up your senses.
Going on a long drive can be an exciting opportunity so the last thing you want is for your car to break down or for your journey to be hampered by not having the right equipment or being unable to change a flat tyre.
Making sure your car is ready for the drive way before you go, and have all of the kit you need in place before you head off. Don’t leave it to the last minute to make sure you have everything needed and it’s wise to get your car professionally checked over by a garage first.