road tripsFrom time to time long road
trips may be necessary. We look at everything you should do to make
that trip run as smoothly as possible.
for a long road tripPreparation is the key.
For a successful road trip you must prepare. This is our guide to
getting it right and having a trouble free journey. Most of it is
common sense, however these things can easily get forgotten about
but can cause a bit of a headache further down the line.
Ensure you plan your route
carefully. Nowadays people generally use satellite navigation to
direct them, although it is always good practice to take a plan B; a
road atlas. Couple the road atlas with some printed directions and
you can't go wrong, even if you don't have sat nav.
These little portable
'screen with a voice' is great for anyone who travels often. The
more modern models are very user friendly and can come with a host
of additional features. Prices are very competitive; if you often
drive to places you don't know very well, they are a must have.
for all the latest deals on Sat Nav systems.
"Old ways are always
best" is what my mother says. She's also concerned that even if
she worked out how to use a Sat Nav, she would end up in a river to
which I said "If you drive into a river, that would be your own
fault". Anyway, log onto Amazon.co.uk/Road_Atlas/
and buy yourself a road atlas at a bargain price. Then check out the
free route finder service from either the AA, Green Flag, or the RAC.
This is the cheaper alternative to a sat nav for those folks who
don't drive often, although you do need to have some map reading
ability - it helps to have the map the correct way up.
under the bonnet checks
Before you set off on your journey
make sure you check the essentials under the bonnet. This is really
easy to and you're only checking what you would normally keep an eye
on anyway. When going on a long journey most people occupy
themselves with other issues and often overlook this, sometimes to
the detriment of the long and tedious car journey. The areas under
under the bonnet for you to look for will normally have a yellow
top, but if you're not really sure take it to a garage and they can
check, but they will charge! Here's a list of what you should check:
- this may seem obvious, but 47% of drivers have admitted to
having broke down due to having ran out of petrol. By filling up
before you start the journey, not only do you significantly
reduce the risk of adding your name to this embarrassing
statistic, but you can also avoid paying over the odds for
petrol at the side of the motorway. If you're travel to Europe
be aware that fuel types differ, you will need to check what
type of fuel you need to be using in each country before you go.
- Just because the oil light isn't on in your car, doesn't mean
the oil level is okay. When the lights on it's too late anyway.
Besides if you're on a long journey the last thing you want to
be doing is hunting down a retailer who sells engine oil which
is compatible with your car. There are different types of oil,
and different cars use different ones.
- You will mostly need you use your windscreen washers at some
point, regardless of the weather, be it spray from wet roads
drying on your windscreen, or dead flies. Not only is it
dangerous to drive without screen wash in your car, it's
- Make sure you're radiator has sufficient water and
anti-freeze/coolant. Failure to have the correct amount can
cause serious damage to your radiator. If your radiators broken
then your engine will overheat and could catch fire.
Check the tread on your tyres to
make sure they are legal. Worn away tread is dangerous as your tyres
wont stick to the road as they should, especially if there is any
moisture on the road. We all know that tyres are expensive to
replace, however if you get caught by the police with treads below
the legal requirement you risk a fine of £2,500 per tyre, plus
you'll need buy new tyres on top of that.
Tread depth isn't the only thing
that you'll need to check, the tyre pressure is also important. If
your tyres are under inflated then your petrol consumption will
increase, and you will have uneven wear on your treads, meaning your
tyres wont last as long as they should. If you over inflate your
tyres you increase the risk of a blow out, and again you will have
It's free at most garages to fill
your tyres up. Read your car manual to check what pressure you
should have your tyres at, this info is also normally printed on the
inside of the petrol cap or on one of the front doors.
Be sure to carry the following
necessity's, you never know when you'll need them;
- Reflective Jacket
- Petrol Can
- Warning Triangle
- Road map
- Change (for a phone box or
unexpected toll booths)
If your car is on the verge of
needing repairs, or there's a little something that you've been
meaning to get checked out, do it before you set off! Otherwise that
little something can become a big something.