Are you looking for some useful tips on how to prepare your car for a weekend city break? We have another great guest blog from Peter Minkoff, a travel writer at MediaPA magazine, to help you make sure you are prepared and ready for a stress free weekend away!
You don’t have to be a professional mechanic to get your ride ready for a weekend trip. In fact, most checks and maintenance tasks can be done without any special tools. However, be sure to inspect your car a few days before hitting the road, so you can make some room for necessary repairs.
Lights and signals
Apart from headlights, you need to check taillights, brake lights, turn signals and hazard lights. Faulty lights can be dangerous in several ways. For example, it can be difficult for other drivers to tell how far are they from you. Also, if a headlight lens is dislodged, you may blind the drivers coming your way. Make sure that the lights are free of debris or condensed water.
Cracked or worn out wipers perform poorly, reducing visibility, especially at night. Faulty wiper blades have a tell-tale squeaky sound and replacing them costs next to nothing. If you are heading to a region with substantial snow and ice, it would be wise to replace the standard wipers with heavy duty winter ones. Keep the windscreen washer fluid reservoir full and keep an extra bottle in your trunk.
Medieval physicians postulated four essential fluids, whose balance was believed to keep the human body healthy. It’s the same with the car – there must be enough fluid for every function in order to keep it running. Apart from gasoline, the most important juices are engine oil and gearbox oil. These three fluids have filters that need to be checked too. The remaining fluids that you should check are the coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid.
The right tyre pressure increases your car’s fuel efficiency, but also reduces the risk of a puncture. Remember that the number on your tyre’s side is not the recommended but the maximum pressure amount it can withstand. Also, keep in mind that tyres should be inflated less in cold months than during the hot season. Holiday costs somehow always break the budget.
If you are in Sydney, many locals are looking for dealers with cheap tyres in Sydney, in order to save money and still drive safely.
As a last-ditch safety measure, brakes need to be in perfect condition. Even if they don’t make strange noises when used, let the mechanic inspect them if you’re planning a lengthy trip. In the same way, if you feel that your brake pedal is softer than it used to be, the most probable cause is the air in the brake fluid.
A good thing about the car battery is that the more you drive, the more it gets charged. However, if the battery reaches the end of its working cycle, starting your car might be challenging. Unless you enjoy asking people to assist you to jumpstart your car every morning: a) make sure that your car’s electrical and ignition systems are working flawlessly, b) purchase a new car battery.
Pack the essentials
Finally, what you need is a universal car emergency kit, that would contain everything you might need in adverse weather conditions or if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Extra blankets are not only handy for traveling with young children or elderly people. In a sudden hailstorm, a blanket will protect your windscreen and roof. You can use a good flashlight to signal in an emergency, but also to check your engine compartment.
These precautions will give you and your family a kind of peace of mind that only comes with knowing that your car will perform to the end of your trip and then some more. Leaving everything to luck can not only mean wasting precious time at an unknown mechanic’s, but also being stopped by the police and fined, or even suspended from the traffic for driving a faulty vehicle.