What are the things to check before a long drive?

By Julia Freeman

If you're about to embark on a long journey, our tyre professionals always recommend conducting a total car check. Long journeys can be hard on both the tyres and the engine, and if anything goes wrong on the motorway the situation can quickly become dangerous. Moreover, being far from home makes it more difficult to find a garage and source spare parts, so it's always important to perform a range of vehicle checks before driving.

car with roof rack

Have you got a valid MOT?

It almost goes without saying but ensure that your car has passed its latest MOT. That's a legal requirement and incredibly important if you're about to set off for a long drive. If you plan to do a lot of travelling and your MOT check is coming up for renewal, consider bringing it forward slightly to ensure that you're covered. An MOT confirms that your vehicle is basically roadworthy, but if you're getting ready for a lengthy drive, it isn't sufficient on its own to fully guarantee safety and you should perform more in-depth checks.

Tyre condition and health

In our experience, tyre health is the number one cause for concern on any vehicle. Tyres are easily neglected, even though degraded or old tyres affect steering, braking and even fuel efficiency. It's imperative that you perform a comprehensive tyre health check before setting out.

Look for telltale cracks in the tyres, measure their tread depths and make sure that the pressure is topped up. Where possible, our tyre professionals always recommend choosing quality tyres from trusted manufactures like Pirelli and Sumitomo. These might mean a larger initial outlay, but they tend to last longer and develop fewer faults, so they eventually pay for themselves.

Check fluid levels

Elsewhere, check oil and coolant levels but don't forget to top up the wiper fluid too. This is another area that's often overlooked but can get you in trouble if you drive through difficult conditions and your view becomes obscured. You'll want to look for any warning lights too. These can indicate anything from low oil pressure to problems with the brakes, but you should never ignore an engine warning light, certainly if you're planning to go for a long drive.

Top up your fuel tank

Last but certainly not least, top up the fuel. You never know when you'll pass a service station and running low on fuel in an unfamiliar area can be a major issue. Pack some emergency supplies and make sure that your spare tyre is present and fully inflated. Check that the locking wheel nut tool is in the boot, along with a jack and brace, should the worst come to the worst.

Forewarned is forearmed – checking your vehicle fully makes for a more enjoyable and stress-free trip.

Talk to Protyre

If you're getting ready to go on a long drive and are worried about the condition of your vehicle or tyres, our qualified fitters offer free vehicle checks. You can book one of these online or drop into one of our nationwide garages for further assistance. We're always on hand to help and will have you on the road safely in no time.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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