Along this road trip, something I have been massively worried about is a technical or mechanical fault popping up with the van, as I don’t think my Dad would be too impressed if I asked him to catch a flight out to Croatia to help me out on the roadside.
As vehicle owners, be it a car, van, skateboard, flying unicorn or spaceship, we can all learn some handy maintenance tips in order to keep peace of mind when travelling from A to B, or in my case, 3000 miles across Europe. I have compiled a list of 6 things that are easy to keep a check on and have vital importance when using a vehicle regularly.
Sounds easy, but I’ll happily bet you a tenner that at some point, your MOT or insurance has crept up on you unexpectedly and left you living on tinned soup for the rest of the month because of improper planning and organisation. It’s so easy and vital to do, so grab yourself a diary or put it in your phone a month earlier to make sure your ride is ready for the road.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, CHECK YOUR OIL FOLKS! Be sure to do this when the engine is cool, like first thing in the morning in order to get an accurate reading. If you’re planning a long trip like mine too, it’s always a good idea to take an extra bottle of the good stuff just in case – we have already had to top mine up a little.
Needless to say, you need good, reliable tyres regardless of how you use your car. I personally recommend investing in a decent set that are appropriate for both winter and summer (particularly when you live in the UK where it is basically constant wet roads, hurray for the Great British weather). Tyres with adequate tread is a legal requirement, and if you’re travelling many miles on hot tarmac like I currently am, you’ll need some reliable, quality tyres. You can get car tyres online at DAT tyres to ensure a safe journey on the road.
Trust me, the last thing you want is to be stuck on the motorway for miles on end with a load of dead flies for company. Not only does it massively reduce visibility, but it’s downright annoying. Keep your screenwash topped up constantly and dilute it with water to make it last longer to ensure that your screen is kept sparkly clean.
Checking your brake pads and discs frequently reduces any potential risk of accidents and will also keep your mind (and the weary minds of your loved ones) at ease when you use your vehicle frequently. Some vehicles, like mine, have a wear indicator to let you know when the pads need replacing, but it is better if you don’t let it get to that stage, plus you’ll feel way more knowledgeable and responsible, go you.
When travelling in a modified or converted vehicle, there is so much more that could potentially go wrong. For example, I have an entirely separate leisure battery that powers my fridge and lights. In order to give myself some mental sanity, I acquainted myself with the manuals and guidebooks before leaving home and made sure to bring along spare fuses. Another good example of something to keep in your glovebox is a USB charging plug for your cigarette lighter, which you can then use to charge your phone, a torch or your GoPro camera.
This blog post was written in collaboration with DAT Tyres.