When it comes to maintenance, regularly checking the oil levels and tyre pressure of your car are not just important, but crucial to your safety and avoiding premature wear on your engine and tyres. It is even more important before a big drive. Here is our handy road trip safety checklist.
Despite this importance, few people actually know where to start when it comes to vehicle DIY.
In this road trip safety checklist we give you a step by step guide – as well as show you how to refill the washer fluid and clean foggy headlights – so you won’t have to wait until your next service to tick off these important checks.
#1: Refill the washer fluid
You will need some good quality washer fluid and a funnel. Make sure the car is turned off and that the engine is cool.
Open the car’s bonnet and safely rest it on the support rod.
Locate where the washer fluid is kept – the cap is commonly labelled on each car with the same ‘windshield wiper’ symbol, which you will see in the video clip.
Remove the cap and place the funnel in the opening.
Pour the fluid into the reservoir until it reaches the fill line.
Remove the funnel and replace the cap.
Gently remove the bonnet from its support rod and lower it back into place.
Rinse the funnel you have just used, and place the washer fluid somewhere safe which is ideally out of children’s reach.
#2: Checking the engine oil level
You should check your cars oil level regularly, to make sure there is enough oil and also to check that it has not been contaminated. Again, you should always ensure that the car is turned off and that the engine is completely cool before you open the bonnet and touch the engine. You should also park on level ground to ensure you get an accurate reading.
The location of the cars oil dipstick does vary between different makes and models – by rule of thumb, you should consult the owner’s manual to locate the correct dipstick before attempting to check the oil levels.
Ensure that the car is turned off and that the engine is completely cool before you open the bonnet and touch the engine.
Once you have located the dipstick, pull it out and wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth.
When completely clean, place the dipstick back into the oil and remove it again, then look at the end of the stick taking note of how high up the oil level is.
The video above outlines how to read the level on the dipstick
If you need to top up your oil, check your owner’s manual for what type of oil your car needs. Unscrew the oil filler cap; slowly pour the oil into the engine and then replace the cap and you are good to go.
#3: Cleaning headlights with toothpaste
This is a quick tip that is easy to follow. It will get your headlights shinning nearly as bright as the sun.
First, grab a soft cloth and spread some toothpaste (which does not have any whitening or mint additives) directly onto the cloth.
Gently rub the cars headlights with the toothpaste covered cloth to remove any grime, then simply rinse with water.
You will be amazed at how sparkly-clean your lights are.
#4: Checking the tyre pressure
The final tip for the road trip safety checklist is to check tyre pressures. When checking the tyre pressure, you should first consult the owner’s manual, or the placard typically found inside the driver’s door, as to what tyre pressure your vehicles tyres should be.
The tyre pressure should be checked when the tyre is ‘cold’.
Remove the cap from the tyre’s pressure valve, place the gauge securely over the valve and check the pressure.
If the pressure is lower than the specification, inflate the tyre as necessary – then securely replace the cap.
Find out how to get better fuel economy out of your vehicle by reading our article called ‘11 Tips For Better Fuel Economy‘.