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Long car trip: Important checks ahead of your next holiday

Think about your safety and comfort before hitting the road

 

You may soon be going on a long drive towards your holiday destination. In order to guarantee a trip without problems nor surprises, a complete check-up of your car is a must: What are the most important things that need verifying?

Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition


Are your windscreen wipers still in good shape? Over time, if the rubber splits or degrades, they can lose efficiency and won’t do their job well; you then run the risk of not being able to see out of your windscreen. Fortunately, wipers are quick and easy to change; you can have it done at your local garage. Make sure you remember to check your screenwash levels as well, and to refill if necessary.

 

Test your lights to ensure that you can see well


Lights are crucial for safe driving. If a light or several lights are not working properly, your visibility will be reduced and you will be less visible to other drivers. Before any long trip, you need to check your brake lights, headlights, and fog lights, as well as your reverse lights and, of course, your  indicators.

 

Are your brakes working well?


Well-maintained brakes ensure that you can stop safely and control the speed of your vehicle. Your trusted workshop needs to check that your brake pads and discs aren’t worn out, and also make sure to check your brake fluid levels and boiling point on a regular basis, as a sufficient amount of brake fluid ensures good braking. Be aware that an abnormally low fluid level may indicate either a leak or worn brake pads. The fluid color is also a good overall indicator and should be a light golden brown. Brake fluid should be changed every two years.

 

Other important fluids to check


To keep all the mechanical parts of the car working properly, the level of the following fluids should be checked 2-3 times a year, or before every long journey:

  • Engine oil level: Engine oil provides lubrication to the various engine parts and prevents wear from friction. It is therefore essential to have enough oil before setting off on a car holiday.
  • Coolant level: When running, the engine tends to heat up. The coolant prevents overheating.

 

Check your tyre pressure and condition before you head off


Tyres can deflate slightly over time. This can affect the vehicle's handling, and can also lead to higher fuel consumption and high risks of accidents, so it’s important to check tyre pressure before a long trip. The same goes for tyre wear; if they will soon need replacing, plan to do it before you go on holiday. Tyres have a lifetime of 5 years (rubber degradation), so check the production date printed on your tyres and ensure they are less than 5 years.

Tyre pressure tip: The pressure values recommended by the manufacturers are usually indicated on the inside of the driver's door. Always keep in mind that the load of the car and type of road also have an incidence on the pressure values.

 

Clean your car cabin for a healthy trip


Cleaning and disinfecting a car's interior is an often neglected, yet essential element of car maintenance. Parts of the driver's cabin that see frequent use can become breeding grounds for bacteria, including the steering wheel, gear stick lever and touch screens, as well as the switches and buttons. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic makes good hygiene practices more important than ever, so you might want to take the opportunity to go over these parts of the cabin with a basic domestic disinfectant. 

You can also use Valeo ClimSpray™ and ClimPur™  to clean, disinfect and protect your cabin. It comes as a spray that can be used by anyone. It has an automatic effect: once sprayed in the cabin, it disinfects the vehicle’s interior in 15 minutes flat. The product not only prevents the spread of infectious microbes at the source, but also releases a pleasant fragrance.

Of course, it is also important to check that your air-conditioning system has sufficient pressure and that cabin filters are in good condition.