Get Your Car Road Trip Ready

With Covid-19 hampering our travel plans, there has never been a better time to enjoy a staycation at home or around Ireland (when restrictions allow). 

There must be places you haven't explored, people to see and good roads to drive on! Staycations could be less expensive than travelling abroad, and you get to support local businesses.

Look at our five top tips on how to get your car road-trip-ready. 

 

1. Check Your Car's Fluids 

 

Fluids are the lifeblood of any car. If you plan to travel, you may want to take care of topping up your car's fluids early. 

Start with checking your engine oil. Engine oil lubricates, cleans, protects and cools the car's engine.

Don't wait for the red oil pressure warning light to come on – check the engine oil dipstick level regularly.

 

Check the coolant level in your car is correct. Don't open the cap when the engine is hot, as it may cause injury. If the coolant level requires topping up, this should only be carried out following the manufacturer's guidelines which will also specify the correct coolant or antifreeze and concentration to use.

 

Check the level of power steering fluid. The full and low indicators on the outside of the tank will indicate the current level of fluid.

 

Move onto checking the brake fluid level in your car. You can do so without the need to remove the filler cap. Opening the cap to check the fluid level is not recommended as this can result in contamination.

If brake fluid level is at or below the minimum level, contact your local First Stop Depot immediately. 

 

Last but not least, check the level of windscreen wash and top up as necessary.

 

2. Are Your Tyres Safe to Drive on

 

Knowing your tyres are in good condition is vital to keeping yourself, your car passengers and other road users safe. Tyres are your vehicle's only contact with the road, so you must choose appropriate tyres and keep them roadworthy.

 

Contact your nearest First Stop Depot and call in for a FREE Tyre Check that consists of a thorough visual inspection of your tyres by our trained technicians.

 

We will inspect:

 

  • Tread depth of your tyres
  • Check for cuts or bulges, and look for any sidewall damage
  • Unusual wear patterns
  • Tyre pressures

 

3. Check Your Light Bulbs

 

Your light bulbs ensure that you can see and be seen.

Check all lighting and replace bulbs as necessary. Also, keep all lights clean!

 

Examine the following: 

 

  • Side and headlamps and Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)  
  • Direction indicators
  • Fog lamps 
  • Rear lamps
  • Stop lamps
  • Number plate lighting 
  • Reverse lamps 

 

4. Check the Brakes 

 

Brakes are a basic factor in vehicle safety. 

Worn brake pads can make braking scary and dangerous - not something you want while you should be relaxing and enjoying your time off!

 

Common Brake Problems Include: 

 

  • Grinding, squeaking or squealing brakes
  • The brake pedal feels spongy
  • Shaking steering wheel

 

Let your mechanic know if you've noticed any issues with your brakes.

 

5. Tidy Up 

 

Cleaning the interior should be a priority before you set off! 

Used coffee cups, wrappers or tissues? Grab a bag and remove rubbish and any unwanted items from the car. 

 

Vacuum clean any dirt and grime gathered on internal surfaces, including floor mats.

Dashboards are prone to collecting dust so wipe away dirt using a microfiber cleaning cloth. 

 

Clean the windows! Keeping glass clean on the inside is as important as cleaning them on the outside. Spray your car interior with a scented air freshener that will give your car a fresh smell and protection from odours. 

 

 

 

 Source: RSA: 12 Car Safety Checks PDF