Preparing you Car for Travelling Abroad
Heading off on a long trip can be an exciting time for most families. Planning the best routes to see great scenery and avoid nasty traffic jams is all part of being organised before setting off. Most people will remember to cancel the newspapers and milk, get someone to collect their mail and put all the lights on timer switches, yet they’ll forget one of the most important parts of travelling abroad – preparing the car. If you forget to prepare your car, you’re asking for trouble, so take time to get your car ready for the road and avoid unnecessary stress or problems.
A Week Before You LeaveTake your car into your car dealer or local mechanic to get it checked over thoroughly before you head on your trip. If you have a relatively new car and get it serviced at its appointed service mileage times, this is less of an issue for you. If your car is a few years old then you really must get it checked before leaving. If you take it in at least a week before travelling, this will give you the chance to have any repairs carried out.
An Extra Bag of Warm ClothesWhen travelling on a long journey, it’s essential that you ensure you take a number of items with you. Although it may seem odd, it is always handy to pack a bag of extra clothes, especially warm clothes. If it’s the middle of summer, you may not think it’s worthwhile packing warmer clothes such as a jumper, socks, trousers and a coat, but these could save your life if you’re stranded someplace.
Even in summer it can be cold at night in many places, so ensure you have extra items of clothing to wrap up in should you breakdown someplace remote. You should also have blankets in your car at all times. If there are a lot of you travelling, the general rule is that you should pack a blanket for each person, but if this takes up too much space, just throw a few large blankets in the boot.
First Aid and Survival KitsNever go on a long car journey without a first aid kit. A travel first aid kit is an essential requirement not just for long distance driving, but for any car driver. Keep the kit handy, probably in your glove box if possible. Even for small items such as plasters, it can be extremely useful. You can also buy more expensive survival kits if you’re going to be driving a number of remote roads. Most survival kits include a flash light, a tyre patch or aerosol sealer and a tyre air compressor. Keep it handy in your boot and try not to bury it under all your luggage.
Check Your TyresBefore you head off on your trip, ensure that you’ve checked all your tyres for slow punctures and make sure they’re inflated to the right pressure. As well as this, check your spare tyre and all the tools that are necessary to change it. You should have a jack and in some cases will need a wheel lock to remove the wheel. If you have flat tyres then you should make sure the indicator is checked regularly so you are made aware if your car suffers a sudden loss in tyre pressure.
Check Your Fluid LevelsMany people never check the oil level, transmission fluid, windscreen wiper fluid or break fluid in their car. If you’re planning a long journey you should make sure all of these are topped up. If you’re not sure how to do this yourself, take it to your local dealer or simply refer to your handbook. These are basic car maintenance tips that everyone should be able to carry out.
Prepare for the UnexpectedIt’s essential that you have bottled water on any long car journey. This could save your life if you break down somewhere remote, so pack it as a must have item before heading off. You should also have some chocolate or other snacks that are only to be used in an emergency.