I will soon be embarking on a road trip to Malaysia with my family for the first time in more than two years. While my car has been regularly serviced here, I wonder if there is anything additional I should check or replace before my long drive.
If you have been diligent with maintenance, there should be little to be concerned about. Nonetheless, here are the main factors to consider in preparation for a safe and enjoyable long-distance driving holiday.
Inspect the tyres. Apart from ensuring sufficient tread, look out for cracks or serious abrasions that may have occurred after a brush with kerbs. It would be wise to replace such tyres as you will be driving at higher speeds for long stretches. Inflate all the tyres to the recommended pressures, including the spare tyre. For cars with tyre-repair kits, check that it is complete and that you know how to use it.
Brake pads are not easy to inspect, so have a workshop do it for you and replace them if necessary. The last thing you want is worn pads that eat up the disc during hard braking. If that happens, braking efficiency will be compromised.
A dead battery can leave you stranded, so consider the age of your car's battery. These days, most batteries last about two years and have a tendency to go flat without warning. Sometimes, a battery check may not reveal the state of deterioration, so it is always best to base its condition on age.
Run a check on the alternator charge, which any battery shop can do. At the same time, inspect the alternator belt or any other belt your car has, including water-pump and power-steering ones.
Finally, check that all the bulbs are working and top up the windshield fluid reservoir.