How many unusually long trips or n number of short trips you might plan within a year?
You are always set to take off with all preparations and plans. But is your car always ready to take on the extra stress and strain. Just keep a check of the following things you should cross check before you take off:
1. The coolant
Most new radiators have overflow bottles with min/max water levels, which are easy to find. Older cars fill via the radiator cap. Never ever open them while the engine's hot or running. Top up with a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze (tap water's OK in a pinch, but add antifreeze later).
2. The tyres
Tires are a very important safety feature and are one of the most common sources of trouble on a long trip. Get the pressures right at a garage - if they're wrong you'll burn more fuel, wear the tyres and suffer poor handling. There's little worse than having to change a wheel, only to find the spare is missing, flat or damaged. Also check the jack, its handle and the wheel brace are there and fit your car!
3. The engine oil
Without oil your engine will overheat, weld itself together and self-destruct. With the engine cold and the car level, check the dipstick. Top up as necessary via the cap at the top of the engine, and give the oil time to run down to the sump before rechecking the level. Don’t overfill.
4. Battery charged?
Check to see if the terminals or posts on the top or side of the battery have a lot of corrosion. The positive terminal will generally have more than the negative. If there is a lot of corrosion, then clean it of). Baking soda and water will neutralize the acid on the terminal, but you have to take the terminal off and clean both sides for this to work properly. It doesn’t help to just clean off the top of the terminal. If you have corrosion and have had the vehicle serviced recently, give the shop a call because it takes more than a month for that to build up!
5. The hosepipe/fuel pipe
Park up on a patch of tarmac you know is clean. Then check underneath for oil or water leaks after a few hours. Even a small leak can lead to dangerously low fluid levels on a long journey also you wouldn’t want to land up on fuel pump every now and then because of being uncertain.