With my biggest trip in the van so far a mere 42 days away (not that I’m counting down every second) I’ve realised that it’s probably about time to start getting myself and more importantly, the van, ready for such a big trip.
Whether you have a European adventure or even a just short jaunt down to Cornwall planned sometime soon, it’s important that your vehicle is running smoothly. Let’s be honest, not many of us have the luxury of taking time off as and when we please, with most of us cramming our lives into annual leave. The last thing you want to is to be spending 10 of your precious 21 days holiday stood at the side of the A27 with your hazards on. (Probably in the pouring rain too, in that good old British Summertime climate)
So, despite the fact that we all have busy lives, it is crucially important that we make time every week to check up on the vitals. Trust me, this is coming from a girl who thought it would be totally fine to drive 500miles every-other week without checking her oil. Safe to say, it wasn’t, and Dads Roadside Rescue had to bail me out once again. Putting the time and effort in now ensures that my van will be roadtrip ready come the 23rd May and will hopefully save me any nasty bills! Not only that, but April is also National Car Care Month, just before the summer road tripping begins, what better time than now to show your four-wheeled friend some love.
If you’re not guilty of neglecting this duty then you obviously have way too much time on your hands, or you are actually managing to be a responsible adult and I salute you. Checking our engine oil is absolutely crucial when it comes to driving a lot of miles, and particularly significant is the exact type of oil required for best performance. It turns out that my Volkswagen T5 1.9 engine needs a very specific type of oil, or it burns and doesn’t condition the engine like it should.
Sleeping in the van sometimes means having to apply my handbrake, which takes its toll on the brakes and puts them at a priority for some TLC. My particular vehicle has a wear indicator on the rear right-hand side break-pad, but older models and other makes may not have the same, making it seriously important to check, clean and replace them when worn.
With this one, I’m lucky enough to have a Dad more resourceful than a vengeful Liam Neeson who owns an air compressor and has taught me how to manually check and fill-up my tyres. The correct tyre pressure for your own vehicle will usually be shown on the inside of your drivers’ side door and is different for the front and rear.
I’ll be touring through seven European countries on the road trip, and I thought learning to drive on the other side of the road was going to be difficult enough without factoring in all the different motoring laws in each country. If you’re travelling abroad in your vehicle, make sure to do your research on whatever country/ies you’re passing through and ensure you have all the necessary kit.
Take it to Someone You Trust
Whether you’re lucky enough to have your very own personal-mechanic/ Superdad, are able to fix your vehicle yourself, or the only thing you know about cars is that they go forwards and backwards, always make sure that you purchase genuine parts from reputable sources and take it to someone you can trust. A good example of someone you can trust is the KAP Motor Group, who offer car servicing for all makes and models in Brighton and the surrounding areas.
After you’ve treated your rig to get rid of any ailments brought on by the cold winter, give yourself a ‘responsible adult’ sticker and a pat on the back, and enjoy your summer!