Car Preparation Checklist for Long Distance Driving
6 August, 2017
Good conditioned car provides safety during long distance trip. Going over car condition is important to anticipate long distance driving or hasty trip. To have a comfortable driving, you can first do these tips for examining car condition:
- Check car engine oil
Before you take a long distance trip, check the volume of engine oil by checking oil level indicated on the dipstick. Look at the film of oil on the end of the stick. The right oil level should be between the L and F lines. Add necessary oil until the level almost reach the F line.
- Check radiator fluid and coolant reservoir
Make sure that radiator fluid is in full condition as well as coolant reservoir. Do not forget to check radiator hose and connecting hose to the reservoir. If the hose has swollen or cracked, replace the hose. Also make sure that hose connectors to engine and radiator are tight and do not have leaks.
- Check fuel filter and hose
Make sure that fuel hose doesn’t have cracks or leaks. Apart from that, also make sure that fuel filter is not clogged.
- Check rotation of engine cooling fan
If fan rotates using belt, check the belt’s condition. If it has cracks, replace immediately with a new one. Also check belt tension to make sure that the fan rotates optimally. If fan rotates using electric motor, make sure that the electric motor is still in good condition and can be used properly.
- Replace timing belt
Timing belt replacement is based on the distance covered indicated by speedometer, generally at every 50,000 km. After having a long distance trip, replace timing belt as soon as possible with a new one, even when there has been no considerable damage.
- Check car battery
Car battery is one of important engine components. Check the battery’s terminal bolts and clean them from dirt or stain.
- Check wheels
Check car wheels in case there is any sharp item on the surface that will likely damage the tires. Also check the surface, whether it still has its texture or already gone bald. Check tire pressure as well. Every car requires different tire pressure. MPV cars generally require normal tire pressure of 30-34 PSI. Cars with bigger dimension and weight require higher tire pressure.
- Check brake
Check brake fluid level in reservoir to see any possible leak. Check brake system to see any leak on the hose and brake master cylinder. Check whether you find wet area in the inner part of rim, which indicates a leak in wheel cylinder. Make sure that brake system can work well.
- Check lamps
Check the whole lighting system. Make sure that all lamps function well and turn on normally. If you find a broken lamp, replace with a new one immediately.
- Make sure that windshield wipers are good
Windshield wipers are very useful when you drive in rainy season. Make sure that wiper blades function normally.
Troubles on the road
Sometimes unexpected problems happen when you are on the road, causing all of your schedules and plans fall apart. These are some of potential troubles that might occur on the road:
Many cases of sudden car breaks happened during a long distance driving. Generally, it happened on cars aged more than 5 years old. Don’t panic if it happens to you. Just open your car hood to see the inner parts of engine, check whether there is any discontinuity or clog in the cables. One of car break causes is damage in the cables that connect each engine component. If you find any damage in the connector parts, check components such as ignition coil, car battery, alternator (including all of its components), and carburetor to examine possible problem.
If you see engine oil indicator light suddenly turns on, don’t panic. Several factors may trigger the indicator light to turns on continuously. For instance, the type of engine oil is not suitable with car specifications or different from car manufacturer’s recommendation. Apart from that, it can happen also because the available amount of oil doesn’t meet with volume standard, broken drain valve, or worn out oil filter. Take your car straight away to the nearest car service center and replace the engine oil.
You can replace flat tire with a spare tire. However, you need to know about your spare tire specifications, whether it is for temporary or permanent replacement. If it is for temporary event, head immediately to a tire repair shop to fix the flat tire.