After months cooped up inside and working like a robot, loading up your vehicle and hitting the road to exploring nature via road trip can be quite refreshing and energizing. 

Going on a long road trip can be a great deal of fun. However simultaneously, an hours-lengthy drive is a genuine test for your vehicle. So if your vehicle is not prepared for that test than your fun road trip can turn in to a complete nightmare.

Nothing could be more regrettable or terrifying than having your vehicle stall many miles from home in the middle of nowhere. Vacations should be a period for no particular reason to worry or not enjoy in the moment, however, the distinction between having fun and not having fun on a road trip frequently lies in whether you prepared your vehicle for that long road trip or not. 

Before you leave home, there are a few straightforward advances you can take to ensure your vehicle does not cause any unfortunate event along the road, you enjoy your road trip and experience the best out of it. 

Checks to prepare your vehicle for a long trip

Here are few of the checks (maintenances) you can perform to make sure that your vehicle is prepared for a long trip:

Fluids 

As blood is important to the human body, the fluids are important for a vehicle. Before going on a long trip a driver must ensure that the six fundamental fluids in his vehicle are at a decent level. Also, a driver must know when he needs to change the fluids along a lengthy road trip. Ultimately a driver must know about how far he has driven with his parent fluids, and how far he is planning on driving with it, to better have an idea of when to change the fluids.

You need to check the level of all the following fluids in your vehicle:

  • Engine oil
  • Coolant
  • Brake
  • Windshield-washer liquid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Power steering fluid

Here is a details analysis of fluids that you need to check and keep maintained:

Engine oil

Engine oil is the most fundamental and essential fluid in your vehicle. It greases up moving parts like the crankshaft, camshaft, and cylinders so they can move easily with a minimum amount of friction. Without engine oil, your engine can stall. Typically engine oil ought to be changed approximately each 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

In terms of checking your engine oil utilize the dipstick to check the level of the oil and its colour. On the off chance that the colour of the oil is dark(pitch black) or the traces of oil are below minimum marker on the dipstick than you need to change your engine oil promptly. You can change the engine oil by yourself if you have the right equipment or you can visit a reliable nearby service centre.

Radiator fluid

Engines produce a great deal of heat and the radiator keeps it cool so the engine does not burn out. Radiator fluid, otherwise called coolant keeps the engine cool by absorbing heat from the engine and scatter it through the radiator. 

Make sure you have recommended level of coolant and its of good quality. So, verify your coolant and top it up if need. 

Brake fluid

Whenever you apply brakes the brake fluid is pushed to press the brake cushions onto the rotors in your wheel hence bring the vehicle to a halt.

On the off chance that you feel that the brake pedal has additional movement or it feels springy (soft), then you might need to flush your brake fluid. 

Power steering fluid

In case you have a vehicle installed with power steering than you must make sure that power steering fluid is at a decent level and your vehicle hasn’t been driven with it more than 24000 miles. 

If you don’t change your power steering fluid timely than its probable that your vehicle will fail in terms of making your steering wheel less responsive.

Transmission fluid 

Transmission fluid keeps your transmission (changing gears) smooth and without any jerking. Without an adequate level of transmission fluid, you will feel unsteady moments and jerkiness when changing gears. 

It is a smart thought to supplant the liquid at approximately 60,000 miles. 

Windshield fluid

Not only in Long drives but also on short drives you want maximum visibility on the road. A messy windshield will compromise your visibility. Ultimately, there is nothing on your vehicle’s more critical than keeping the windshield clean for high visibility and secure driving.

Make sure that your windshield fluid is at an appropriate level at all times.

Engine air filter

The engine air filter is overlooked easily while we are maintaining our vehicle however this piece of the vehicle is very significant. If the air filter is filthy and full of debris it could immensely affect the working of the engine. 

It is always a great idea to supplant engine air filter (a filter that filters the air for the engine intake) before taking off for a long road trip. In terms of finding and replacing the air filter, you can take guidance from your owner manual.

Tyres

Tyres are extremely important to check whether you are planning to go on a long trip or routinely going on a short trip. Tyres are the only contact point between your vehicle and the road that is why they define the driving experience you are going to have. 

You need to have tyres according to the climate and terrain condition where you planning your road trip otherwise your tyre might underperform and give you a hectic ride. If you do not have appropriate tyres for your long road trip, no problem, you can still purchase a set of your desired and compatible tyres from the comfort of your home via online tyre shop such as Pitstoparabia in Dubai.

In terms of tyres the following things must be ensured accordingly:

Tyre Pressure

Tyre pressure is a critical aspect of any pneumatic tyre. A tyre must not be under or over-inflated otherwise the consequences can be awful and even deadly. An over-inflated tyre is at risk of a blowout, and under-inflated tyre demonstrates exponential wear and tear as well as it also increases the fuel consumption.

You must ensure that the air pressure (PSI) in your tyre is according to the recommendation of the tyre manufacturer. This recommended pressure is for the cold tyre (when a vehicle is at rest for at least 2 hours). You can find the recommended tyre pressure on the placard posted on the front door jam, in the owner’s manual or on the sidewall of the tyre itself. 

You can check your tyre pressure by using an air gauge and inflate your tyre accordingly with the help of the air pump. Whereas as if deflation is needed you can use a sharp and narrow screwdriver to press on the centred pin in the valve until desired PSI is reached.

Load Index

Every tyre has a specific load index incorporated within the ISO metric tyre code, which is engraved on the sidewall of the tyre. This load index denotes the maximum amount of a load a tyre can carry at a specific PSI. So make sure you don’t overload your vehicle exceeding the load index of your tyre. 

Tread Depth

Tread on the tyre is very important in terms of providing the tyre with traction and better handling especially on the wet road and rough terrain. Unfortunately, this tread is not eternal and wears out as the tyre is used. So it is very important that you have sufficient tread depth on your tyre for save travel otherwise your vehicle could hydroplane (also known as aquaplaning).

Minimum acceptable tread depth recommended by various tyre manufacturers is 1.6 millimetres, tread depth below that is dangerous. If the tread depth is below 1.6 millimetres than you would have to replace your tyre or retread it by visiting Bridgestone tyres Abu Dhabi or nearest tyre service centre in your city.

You can check the tread depth of your tyre using a coin, depth gauge or a depth card.

Uneven wear tear and other damage

You also have to perform a visual inspection of your tyre to see if there is any uneven wear or tear. If you find the traces of uneven wear and tear that it is probable that your wheels are misaligned.

Also, check for any prominent damages on your tyres. 

Spare tyre

Make sure that you have a healthy spare tyre and is inflated to recommended PSI in case you need one. 

Battery

One of the worst things to happen on the road is a dead battery. The battery is very important in terms of ignition and powering other electrical components on your vehicle such as lights.

A completely energized battery ought to be at 12.6 volts or above while the vehicle is at rest, and between 13.7 to 14.7 volts when the vehicle is active and being driven.

To test the battery, you have to observe the headlights on your vehicle for any abnormality and you will immediately realize the condition of your battery. In case your battery is weak, you might need to add distilled water to it and bring it back to its tip-top condition. However, if your battery is dead than you will need to replace it on the spot. 

We recommend that you also have a physical inspection of the battery to clean corrosive terminals and make sure that the battery is firmly mounted. To keep the battery clean, utilize a mix of soft drink and water to wash away any soil and grime.

Lights

Lights are a significant piece of a vehicle in terms of indicating other drivers of your action and having visibility during the night. Not having every single mandatory light working is an offence in law and also very dangerous. 

You need to make sure that all of the lights are working particularly before going on a drive during the night. You can check your lights by strolling round the vehicle while somebody turns off and on the light switches.  

You need to check for the following lights:

  • Side lights 
  • Tail lights
  • Headlamps 
    • Main beam (driving beam, full beam, high beam)
    • Dipped beam (meeting beam, low beam, passing beam)
  • Direction indicators
  • Stop lights 
  • Number plate light
  • Reversing lights
  • Fog lights (rear and front)
  • Long-range driving lights 
  • Hazard warning lights 

In case any of the lights are not working you need to promptly replace it with the new one.

Also check all the lenses and housing on your lights for any potential cracks and damage, in case you find one then you need to replace it since it could greatly affect the intensity of the lights especially the headlamps.

Wheel alignment

Wheel misalignment is not hard to detect. If your tyres are pushing to one side and you constantly have to correct your path using steering wheel than it is very much likely that you have misaligned wheel. In this case, you must promptly visit the reliable service centre in your city such as Bridgestone Dubai to get your wheel realigned.

Brakes

You need to perform a full check of the brakes to see if they are working fine since your bakes also wear out with time. Make sure that stopping distance is adequate and safe. Likewise, listen for squealing noise and if you notice one then visit a reliable service centre to get your brakes up to the standard. 

Additional tips

Following are some of the additional tips that will help you become more confident about your road trip:

  1. Never overload your vehicle 
  2. Take out unnecessary stuff from your vehicle
  3. Thoroughly wash your vehicle
  4. Know emergency helplines of the area
  5. Items to have
    1. Medkit 
    2. Spare tyre
    3. Fire Extinguisher
    4. Flashlight
    5. Phone charger
    6. Complete tool kit
    7. Jump-starter kit
    8. Tire gauge
    9. Air pump
    10. Foam tyre sealant
    11. Map/GPS

 

Conclusion

A vehicle breakdown during your everyday drive is somehow manageable, yet imagine a scenario where your vehicle leaves you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Vehicle care is vital all year, yet particularly important before planning to go on a long road trip.

Most of your time during the road trip will be spent in your vehicle, so it is very significant to ensure that your vehicle is in the best shape possible and working up to its maximum capacity.

Remember to always have a backup plan in case that anything goes wrong with your vehicle even after you have prepared your vehicle for a long road trip. 

 

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