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Road Safety 101: 4 Important Things To Check In Your Car Before A Long Drive

From the beautiful scenery to the simple-yet-fulfilling moments with a companion, road trips are not just a means to reach a destination – they are also an enjoyable experience on their own. This may explain why people still decide to go on long road trips rather than take a bus or train even if driving is one of the most tiresome activities.

Of course, you need to prepare your vehicle ahead of the drive to ensure your safety throughout the journey. Whether you’re driving your own vehicle or a car rental in Abu Dhabi, here are four things you need to check before going on an extended drive across the UAE:

1.Tires

Conduct a visual inspection of the tires. Make sure that the air pressure in each tire follows the recommended PSI stated in the owner’s manual.

Having the correct tire pressure is crucial so that the vehicle can carry its load. It will also help keep you and your passengers safe.

Many modern cars already have a tire pressure monitoring system that will tell you if any of your tires has too little or too much tire pressure. But if the car you’re driving doesn’t have this, you can use a tire pressure gauge instead. This is useful for taking the actual air pressure of your tires and helping you match it with the correct PSI, as indicated in the car manual.

If necessary, visit a local garage or gas station to inflate your tires. This will ensure you don’t get blown out tires while on the road. It is also good for maintaining the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

But if there’s something a bit worse than having to change the wheel on a long drive, it’s finding out that the spare tires are flat, damaged, or missing. You also need to make sure that the jack and wheel brace are packed before you go on your trip.

2.Fluid levels

Lots of different fluids are necessary to keep a vehicle up and running.

First, of course, is the fuel. You can use the fuel gauge on the vehicle's dashboard to check whether you have enough gas for the trip.

You also need to check oil levels. If the vehicle doesn’t automatically alert you about it, you can check if the level is too low by using the dipstick. Top it up as needed and give it some time to run down the sump before rechecking. Avoid overfilling it.

Also, check whether the car is due for an oil change. If it almost coincides with your long drive, you can do it earlier as the extended journey may put more stress on the vehicle more than any regular trip.

Other fluids you must check or may need to top up include:

  • Engine coolant – This maintains the temperature of the engine cooling system. With newer cars that have closed cooling systems, you no longer need to do so. But if you’re driving an older model, you should check the coolant levels and top up as needed.
  • Windscreen wash – Besides checking whether your windshield is working, you also need to make sure that the windscreen wash is sufficient. This will help clear the screen more thoroughly during the journey.
  • Brake fluid – As the name implies, this fluid ensures that the brakes work well.

3.Lights

Ensure that all the signal lights are functioning properly to prevent accidents while you’re on the road.

You may need to ask for help to perform this pre-road trip check. One of you will sit in the car and switch on lights and signals while the other checks whether they are functioning properly.

Just to be sure, pack some spare bulbs before your trip. There should be at least one for each of the vehicle lights:

  • Headlights
  • Indicator lights
  • Reverse lights
  • Taillights

4.Battery

It is also important to know whether the battery can withstand an extended drive.

If it hasn’t been changed for years, test it to see whether it can still do the job. If the starter sounds sluggish, you may have a corroded or dying battery under the hood. If this happens, have it changed before you go on your journey.

Stay Safe on Your Long Drive

Beyond sticking to a regular car maintenance schedule, you also need to inspect the vehicle right before you go on a long drive to ensure safety on the road. Start with the items on this list, or better yet, have a mechanic tune up your vehicle before you hit the road.



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