With recent news that unlimited outdoor exercise and long distance car travel are both now permitted in England, more and more people are getting out and about a little further afield. Whether you’re looking to escape the city and enjoy the peace and quiet of the countryside for a few hours or want to treat the children to a long overdue trip to the seaside, ensuring your car is up to the challenge of driving long distance after the past 10 or so weeks on hiatus is vital.
As specialists in vehicle repair and maintenance, we are always offering guidance and support to our customers. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, our mission remains the same but there are a number of steps you can take at home to prepare your car for long journeys post lockdown too.
Check your fluid levels
Engine oil, brake fluid, screenwash and coolant are all essential to the inner workings of any vehicle, so ensuring they are topped up at regular intervals is important, especially before you embark on a long trip.
Let’s start with your screenwash, which is integral to maintaining a good level of visibility on journeys long and short. Like the other fluids, you’ll find the screenwash reservoir under the bonnet, and its levels can be easily observed with a quick visual inspection and topped up where necessary. Your vehicle engine oil and coolant can be checked using dipsticks. The engine oil and coolant reservoirs both have dipsticks, which must be removed, cleaned, reinserted and removed once more. On these dipsticks you’ll find minimum and maximum marks, and any fluid residue should sit between these marks. If it falls below the minimum mark, a top up will be required.
Your vehicle’s brake fluid is usually found in a clear reservoir with minimum and maximum marks, which can be visually checked.
Take a closer look at your tyres
The car components that sit between you and the road must be checked carefully. All your tyres must be in good condition with a tread depth above the minimum legal requirement of 1.6mm. Find out how to check tread depth accurately with just a 20 pence piece here.
Visually your tyres need to be free from bulges, strain and other damage. Damage to the sidewall is particularly dangerous but all too common due to contact with kerbs and potholes. The pressure of your tyres must also be checked and the best way to do this is with a tyre pressure gauge. Tyre pressures vary from vehicle to vehicle. You’ll find the correct tyre pressure for your make and model in your vehicle handbook. Newer models come equipped with a tyre pressure sticker, which you’ll find somewhere on your car’s bodywork.
Test out those brakes and lights
Your brake pads are another essential area that needs to be reviewed periodically and particularly before long journeys. As with many car components, brake pads become worn over time and require replacement.
Brake pads can last anywhere between 25,000 and 60,000 miles, which makes spotting the signs of wear important for every driver. The most obvious indication that your brake pads need replacing is the appearance of your brake pad wear warning light. Not all cars are equipped with these sensors however. If your car screeches loudly, pulls to one side or the pedal vibrates when the brakes are engaged they may be due for replacement.
You should also test your vehicle’s lights before setting off. Any blown bulbs can be fixed quickly and cheaply so you can proceed with your journey as planned.
Book our Keep Fit for Cars
Whether you want your car to receive a good check over before your long distance excursion or are worried that it’s not in the best condition after being parked on your drive for a long period during lockdown, our Keep Fit for Cars service is a great option.
For just £25, your vehicle (and all its essential parts) will receive the workout it needs as well as enjoy a pamper session both inside out. In addition to completing these essential maintenance checks plus washing and hoovering your vehicle, our specialists will even pick it up from your home and drop it back off when they’re all finished. Your vehicle can also be topped up with fuel before it’s returned so you can hit the road without having to take a detour to your nearest petrol station.
Like all our repair and maintenance services, our Keep Fit for Cars package is provided completely contactless. Our new contact-free measures ensure the highest level of safety for our customers and staff, whatever assistance you and your car require.