simple road trip car maintenance


Part 1:

Before you set out on a road trip you need to be sure that your car is up to the job. Vehicle maintenance and repair is vital, especially if your road trip is going to be a long one. Maintenance issues that involve your brake and suspension components are too important to check yourself and need to be tested by a trained mechanic, so it’s best to have your car booked in for a professional maintenance package before your trip starts. However, there are checks that you can carry out at home too, and here we’ve compiled a handy checklist of simple maintenance tests that will help you to avoid vehicle problems on the road.


Engine oil

A test so simple it’s often overlooked - check your engine oil. Lack of oil changes can lead to all sorts of problems with your engine, so before you set out, position your car on a flat surface, warm up and then stop the engine. Wait for a minute or two to let the oil flow down the oil pan. Then locate your engine oil dipstick – if this isn’t clearly labeled, consult your owner’s manual. Pull out the dipstick, wipe with a clean rag and re-insert fully. Pull out the dipstick again to check the oil level, which should be close to the ‘full’ mark indicated on the dipstick. If the level is low, top it up using the same kind of oil already in use. If the oil appears to be very black it’s time for an oil change.


Engine coolant/antifreeze

Lack of engine coolant/antifreeze can lead to your engine overheating while on the road. Your engine antifreeze is stored in the overflow tank and the level of antifreeze contained should be visible from the outside. Check that the level is somewhere between the minimum and maximum levels and top up if necessary using a 50/50 antifreeze/water mixture, remembering never to open the radiator cap when the engine is hot! If the level is very low this could be a sign of a leak which should be repaired before you set out.