How to prepare your car for a longer journey
No matter if you drive your car daily or have just started to prepare special roadtrip vehicle. Driving further without troubles and worries needs some preaparations. Maybe it won’t completely save you from bad adventures but can minimalise chances for those. So how to prepare your car for a longer journey?
Preparing mechanical side of your car
First of all it’s important for your car to be in good overall mechanical shape. If some things needs to be replaced or repaired – do it. If some things looks like they will need to be replaced or repaired in the nearest future – do it now. Go to your favourite mechanic and just tell him or her about your plans. They should know how to prepare your car for a longer journey and they will check everything. If you do all the mechanical stuff by yourself propably you are not reading this paragraph 🙂 Important thing is that repairing the car on the side of the road is almost never funny (well, sometimes it is, when you do it with your friends and not your car is the broken one).
Checking Oils, fluids and tyres
Before departing into adventure make sure that your car have enough of vital substances inside. For the minimum:
- Check the level of motor oil in the engine. If it’s not full, fill it up. Also buy spare bottle (1L is enough) of it and keep it in the trunk. During journeys your’s car engine can consume a little bit more oil than when driving normal.
- Check the level of other fluids – brake, power steering, coolant – this is another one which I reccomend for you to have as a spare.
- Check the pressure in the tyres. Low pressure can decrease your fuel mileage and also increase wear of tyres.
- Also check if there is a fluid in the windshield washer reservoir. It would be needed on the road.
- Make sure that all the necessary lights around the car works properly
Advanced but recommended:
- Replace filters and motor oil in the engine. Especially when designated mileage for change would come somewere in the middle of the journey.
- Check the condition of windshield wipers and if they don’t work wery good – replace them.
- Check the condition of your tyres and if they’re old or not suitable for road conditions replace them. Remember that during longer drives with heavier car (with all luggage) they will wear quicker than when driving around home. Also take into consideration that in some parts of the Europe it’s obligatory to have your car equipped with winter tyres in some periods of year.
Safety and necessary equipment
In most european countries there are different rules on what you have to carry with you in your car. You can check it in many, many places, but make sure that you have everything what you have for countries that you’ll go to or just pass by. The most popular things are:
- Safety high visibility triangle (in some countries two of them)
- High visibility jackets (in some countries one for every person in the car – and I thing it’s a good point)
- First Aid Kit
- Spare lightbulbs (some countries)
- Fire exhtinguisher (if you’d like to make sure that you are going to be able to put off a fire in your vehicle buy something bigger than obligatory 1kg one)
It is also good to have:
- Some tools
- Some basic repair parts like zip-ties or power tape
- Spare tyre or repair kit
- Snow chains – if you are driving in winter
Prepare yours and your car documents
Make sure that you have all the documents needed in your country of orgin and that you have valid inspection and insurance. Of course the car have to be registered. For some countries you may also need some extended insurance (sometimes called green card) or international driving licence.
Packing and weight distribution
When you pack your luggage into your car make sure you are not exceeding the maximum payload. Some bigger cars like vans, trucks etc. can be even weighted by police or other kind of highway inspection in some countries. If it’s to heavy you pay a fine. It’s also important to remember that the car which is heavy drives differently than empty one. It accelerates slower and also stops further. Make sure that you safely secure all your luggage so it won’t kill you while flying from the back to the front of the car. Remember to put heavy things low and light ones higher. Also if you have a roof rack.
What can you do more to prepare your car for a longer journey?
Clean your car inside and outside. Maybe even think about protecting it with some wax or other coating. It will stay clean for longer improving your visibility from inside and you won’t get dirty every time you touch your vehicle.
I think, that’s not all. If you have any suggestions or questions I’d be happy to respond and maybe make this topic grow.
I also prepared infographic showing how to prepare your car for a longer journey:
Remember also that some points refers to european situation only.