Do you like road trips in the UK?

I certainly do, and I for one advocate this to get to the unexpected secrets of the UK. Lately, now that I’ve moved back up north in the UK, I’ve become dependent on my car to visit adventure and scenic spots in Yorkshire but also far flung to the other side of the country. Knaresborough has been a highlight to see good Old Mother Shipton to tell my fortune!

But since I have my trusty steed of a Toyota Yaris Sport to quickly zip around the country, I’ve become very much more aware how much I need to look after my car. Maintaining and cleaning my car has become a ritual of mine to ensure I give it the correct care for a stress-free and relaxing journey.

So, what tips I’ve learnt that I can impart to you?

Get a professional audit of your car called an MOT

This is an annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness and exhaust emissions for most vehicles over three years old used on any way defined as ‘road’ in the Road Traffic Act 1988. The MOT test covers the following aspects:

  • Exhaust and emissions
  • Seat belts
  • Steering
  • Windscreen
  • Bonnet catch
  • Horn
  • Number plate
  • Lights
  • Brakes
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Mirrors
  • Doors
  • Seats
  • Suspension
  • Fuel System
  • Body and structure

Gaining a certificate will confirm that the vehicle has met the minimum environmental and road safety standards at the time of the test.

Having an MOT is a great way to ensure your car is up to speed and will give you peace of mind for your next road trip in the UK. There’s many places you can take your car for an MOT test.

However, you may think that going on a road trip without an MOT is a good idea. Actually, it isn’t. This what happens if you choose to neglect your MOT:

  • You become vulnerable to large penalties or fines if you are caught
  • Your health of your car is compromised and it won’t be SAFE FOR YOU to drive on the roads
  • Your car is no longer road-worthy so expect to have an increased risk of breaking down
  • The life of your car is compromised so expect to be buying a new car before you know it.

Let’s think about driving to London. We all know that London’s roads are messy and really busy. Do you certainly want to be driving in the capital without an MOT? I know I certainly don’t. Why not simply book your MOT in London from DAT tyres?

Ensure you have a properly running car battery

There’s nothing worse if you’re in the middle of nowhere and you go to turn on the ignition of the car to find the battery has run flat.

Ensure your car battery is full and more importantly, that it’s not leaking.

Excess heat is the main cause of battery failures but other factors can also include grid corrosion and low temperatures as well.

So, how can you check if your battery is leaking?

  • You may find there are cracks in the battery casing and you can see fluid dripping from these fractures
  • You may see bubbling liquid through the caps
  • The battery appears to be warped or distorted

If you see this, the battery is damaged. Get a professional to replace this for you as battery liquid is dangerous.

Find out if you have a functional exhaustion system in the car

Like me, you’ve probably scratched your head and wonder what is an exhaust system. Well, I can tell you now that it is a piping system used to take reaction exhaust gases away from the engine where combustion occurs. The piping leads through a catalytic convertor to reduce air pollution before being expelled out of the car through the exhaust point.

The main cause of a bad exhaust system is rust when moisture comes into contact with iron. So, before I prepare to go on long journeys, I look to clean the exhaust pipe with soap and water. Donning a pair of gloves and grabbing a cloth I don’t mind getting dirty, I wash off the dirt from the exhaust pope and with an old brush clean the inside.

If you notice black smoke billowing out of your car while you are driving. You better take it to a professional or a garage to get it checked over. Hey, what about an MOT?

Match your tyres so your vehicle runs smooth

Twice in the last year, I’ve had to change my tyres. Why? Because I found out that one of my tyres did not match the others in terms of make and tyre pressure. This resulted in extra pressure on one of my tyres thus cracking the wall of the tyre. It wasn’t until I took off the tyres that I realised the extent of the damage.

So before you undertake a road trip, take special attention to the tyres:

  • Are the tyre pressure to your manufacturer’s standards? (See your handbook for measurements)
  • Are there cracks in the tyre wall?
  • Are the tyres properly filled with air and not leaking?
  • Are they clean to ensure nothing gets stuck or trapped on the tyre?
  • And do you have a spare tyre in the boot?

Now you can start your road trip

Of course, there are other ways to maintain your car. It’s easy, just look in your car handbook for your maintenance needs. I also check my oil, coolant and more.

Now that you’ve maintained your car for a long road trip ahead, you can drive off in the knowledge that your car will never let you down.

Me? Time for a road trip to Wales! I better make sure my car is in working order!