August 26th, 2019 | Updated on June 30th, 2022
It’s always a good idea to go out on a long drive on your own. Imagine the wind blowing through your open windows while you’re driving carefully to the tune of your favorite music.
Once in a while, it’s good to take off stress from everyday life by driving off. You don’t have to have a destination necessarily, you can just drive around until you decide to go back home. For some people driving around is a stress reliever.
A long ride shouldn’t give you stress, as that would defeat the purpose of it all. To avoid being stressed out, you should try to look at everything that can go wrong and how would you like to prevent those things from happening.
Before you drive, do some safety checks on your car. Your safety checklist should include the following:
1. Check Your Wheels And Tires
Most people check their engine, gas, and everything else but they forget to check on their tires. Your tires should always be part of your checklist when going for long drives.
Check if your tires have enough air in them. Running on a flat tire can slow you down and damage the interior of your tire and can render it useless.
It’s also annoying to drive on a flat tire as you’ll continuously hear a dull, flapping sound all the time. A little bit of wear and tear is normal for a tire.
However, a tire that’s too worn off offers little help to provide traction, which is crucial when you’re driving on a wet or dry surface.
Without traction, your car will easily slip on a slippery surface. Braking also becomes tricky as traction also helps your car stop properly.
*Pro-tip: Again, it’s reasonable to see a tire wear out. If you do think that your car tire is wearing out too fast, then it might be because of improper wheel alignment. Getting your wheels aligned means more fuel efficiency, more savings on tires, and improved safety while driving.
Checking The Fluids
Checking The Fluids Just like the human body, a car needs the right amount of fluids to function correctly. These fluids should always need checking when you’re going out on a long drive:
- Engine Oil: To check your engine oil, open your hood and remove the dipstick. Use a clean cloth to wipe away the oil from the stick. Dip it back in the oil, wait for a bit, and then withdraw it to check the level. Normal levels should always be between the two marks.
- Brake Fluid: By opening the brake fluid cap, you can see if your brake fluid levels are normal. The fluid should be within half an inch of the lid. Wipe any liquid that splashes around as brake fluid can damage painted surfaces.
- Power Steering Fluid: A dipstick can usually tell if your brake fluid is at normal levels. It’s also essential to check for the color of the liquid as a dark black or brown fluid indicates burnt fluid. A typical color for power steering fluid should be light red or crimson.
- Coolant: With your coolant, you can try to open the radiator cap and see if the fluids are near the cap. If the liquid doesn’t reach the “full-line”, then try adding a mix of water and coolant.
- Windshield Wiper Fluid: You can check this fluid by finding a translucent, usually white container when you open your hood. From there, you can see if the fluids are at the correct level.
2. Test Your Battery
Without a car battery, it’s impossible to start up your car. With a weak battery, you may suddenly find yourself slowly losing power while you’re driving.
To check for your battery, turn off the ignition of your car. Open your hood and try to clean your battery from there.
Remove the positive terminal cover and place the positive lead of a voltmeter.
The negative lead should also go with the negative terminal. A voltage between 12.4 and 12.7 indicates that the battery is in good to go.
Anything lower than 12.2 means that you have to charge your car battery slowly. An excess reading of 12.9 volts or more means that the alternator may be charging the battery too fast.
To get rid of a few volts, turn on your lights or high beam for a while as that should be enough to lower the voltage.
If you don’t have a voltmeter, you can contact a professional mechanic and opt for a complete comprehensive car inspection by professionals to help you identify and solve car problems. Always remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
3. Turn On Your Wipers
Wipers can help a driver maneuver through bad weather by clearing water or any dirt on the windshield.
Without a windshield, you risk having zero visibility while driving on the road. Even if the weather is good, you shouldn’t risk going out with a broken wiper.
Turn your wipers on to see if it works. You should also try using it with a bit of windshield wiper fluid.
Make sure that the wiper thoroughly cleans the glass instead of creating a smear or smudge.
4. Check Your Lights
Your lights are part of the safety features of a car. You shouldn’t drive without your lights as it can be classified as reckless driving.
Test your signal lights if they properly signal a left or right turn. Your high beams should also work. A faint or weak glow may mean that you need to replace your lights or a weak battery.
5. Make Sure You Have Working Seat Belts
Another thing that most people forget checking before they go out is their seat belt. Driving without your seat belt on can lead to a ticket or even worse, death.
Statistics say that the most severe injuries and even death come from drivers and passengers who don’t wear their seat belts.
To check your seat belt, pull it out slowly and then try pulling it again quickly. You should feel strong resistance from the seat belt. Try fastening your seat belt and try to move.
A good seat belt shouldn’t come off no matter how much you try to move.
6. Check Your Gas
Cars need fuel to run. If you plan on going on long trips, then make sure you have adequate gas levels. Check to see if your fuel gauge on the dashboard is working.
Broken gauges can mislead you by showing a full tank even though you’re nearly out of gas.
A broken fuel gauge doesn’t also warn you that you’re already low. Don’t push your luck by saying that you’ll eventually find a gas station along the way.
Make sure you fill up at the first station you come across when you’re already out.
7. Always Have Tools Ready
Open your trunk and see if you have all the tools for whatever mishap that could happen out on the road.
Check if you have a basic tool kit, a jack, some wrenches, etc. Most of the time, the most significant problems can only be fixed by the smallest tools already in your car. Don’t leave home without these tools.
When you plan on driving around to relieve a little bit of stress, always check your car first before going out. Check your tires, fluids, battery, and safety devices.
It’s also handy to have tools in your trunk should you run into problems along the way.
Remember, the purpose of this drive is to relieve stress and not add more to it. Always perform the necessary checks. Be safe, don’t drink and drive, and drive responsibly!