Before a long car ride, we are talking anywhere from 100 miles and up, there are things to check out. Having a good mechanic is key if you are lucky enough to find one. But it is also essential to have some idea of what makes your car run safely, at a basic level. We will go over some key areas that are most approachable for the average person.
- Checking Engine Oil Level, Coolant, and Transmission Fluid Level
Every car will be slightly different, so look online for the location of your different fluid dipsticks. Learning about your fluids and their levels is an important first step you can take to get to know your car.
- Have your brake pads checked
Even if your brakes are not that old, make sure the pads are in good shape for the length of your trip. If the brakes are leaking, you may have more to figure out. But even for a “healthy” set of brakes, you want to make sure the pads are thick enough to last and to respond in an emergency.
- Windshield Wipers and Fluid
This you will have most likely noticed on your own if you are somewhere with rainy weather. If you live in a dry climate, it may have been a while since you’ve seen them in action. Test out the wipers by spraying your wiper fluid and removing it with the wipers. You should not see any streaks or hear any squeaking. If you do, even if the streaks eventually fade, replace the blades or bring along replacements, at the very least. Obviously seeing is just about the most critical part of driving, so there is no reason to mess around when it comes to visibility.
- Climate System
Your defroster, air conditioning, and heating systems all work hand in hand with your windshield wipers to keep you safe. While a lot of people consider having air conditioning as a luxury, its purpose goes deeper than that. The climate system of your car helps keep visibility optimal in your vehicle. Besides that, it can also save your life. A moving, heated car can help keep you alive in subzero temperatures. And driving with the air conditioner on can help you avoid sunstroke or heat exhaustion in desert climates or in the summer.
- Headlights, Turn Signals, and Taillights
Headlights also play a role in your visibility, but the signals and brake lights help you be visible to others. That can be just as important. Having all your lights in working order is also a good way to avoid getting pulled over or ticketed.
The bottom line is this – driving of any kind involves risk. When you go on a long drive, it may not mean that you will be running into more dangerous terrain or conditions than usual. What it does mean is that you are increasing your time behind the wheel. So, as far as probability goes at least, you have increased your exposure to everything that happens on the road. Having these bases covered can help you navigate these risks so you can enjoy your time on the road.