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Important Car Checks to Carry out before a Long Journey

December 7, 2016

Christmas time is approaching, and many of us will be taking the long trip home to see friends and family during the festive season, but not all of us will have given the necessary thought and consideration for travelling such a distance. French & German Car Services Ltd offer six important car checks to carry out before setting off on a long journey:


Oil and Coolant

Your engine can overheat at any time, but it is particularly susceptible to this problem during longer journeys; check your coolant reservoir to make sure that there aren’t any leaks, and that it contains the maximum level of liquid possible. It’s also critical to consider when you last changed your oil, and take action accordingly. As you travel, oil accumulates dust and dirt, so that after time it won’t lubricate your vehicle as safely and effectively as possible.



Thanks to short winter days and reduced daylight hours, long journeys mean that travelling in the dark is unavoidable. It is critical that your car checks include all of the inside and outside lights of your vehicle in order to easily view your dashboard and the road ahead, therefore, clean all of your headlamps and look out for any broken bulbs.


Windscreen Wash and Wiper Blades

It is now considered a punishable offence to drive without windscreen wash, as this is classed as ‘undue care and attention’. Main roads will be laid with grit to combat the buildup of ice, as well as being covered in general mud and dirt, all of which will coat your windscreen and significantly reduce or even eliminate visibility. Consequently, in order to have optimum visibility on the road, include your windscreen wipers and wash in your list of car checks, making sure that the blades move freely across your windscreen and that you have enough wash to clear away grime.



Your tyres are most definitely a priority when it comes to car checks for long journeys. Check all round the tyres, including the side walls, looking for any sign of tearing or bulges that could compromise on their safety and functionality. Test the pressure and measure this against the adequate level for your particular make and model, which can be found in your owner’s manual. The legal limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, but you should aim for the 3mm to be cautious.


Emergency Provisions

Should unexpected or harsh weather occur and you become severely delayed or stranded, an emergency kit could make all the difference whilst you wait for help. Some of the key items that you should have available in this kit include; food; water; blankets; warm clothes; an electric torch; an ice scraper; a first aid kit; and a phone charger.


Rest Stops and Fuel

Our last suggestion in our list of car checks involves adequate journey planning. Look ahead to see how many service stations are available on your route and the distance between each stop. Drowsiness and fatigue can easily overwhelm you on long journeys and cause you to drop off; ensure that you have allowed yourself enough sleep the night before your journey and accommodate for breaks and rests as appropriate for the distance which you are driving. It is better to arrive at your destination slightly late than to risk falling asleep at the wheel and crashing. Furthermore, it is a good idea to work out how much fuel is needed to cover your journey and plan for any necessary tops ups along the way.


If you are planning to travel a long distance and want to ensure that your vehicle is in the best condition possible for the journey, don’t hesitate to get in touch with French & German Car Services Ltd. We offer a comprehensive range of car checks and automotive services, including a qualified MOT centre, repairs, and car servicing, all which will see you safely on the road. Our friendly and expert team will be happy to answer any questions you have, just call us on 0207 609 1502 or complete our online form.