A Driver’s Guide to MOT & Car Care Before a Long Journey

If you’re planning a long journey in your car for a business trip, to visit friends in another part of the country or for a holiday, then extra car checks are advisable.

Drivers ought to undertake some checks themselves or consider booking a service if they’re not up to the job. After all, if you’re used to running around the city you live in and only travelling a few miles by car at a time, then you should be prepared for the strains your vehicle will come under when it is being driven consistently fast on the motorway.

Road with blurred car passing, autumn trees and leaves all around. Travel and nature concepts together in this image.

The brakes, engine oil, tyres and even wiper blades can all be used much more on a longer journey than travelling from Lewisham to Lambeth or from Harrow to Haringey, for example. What do you need to do?

Make sure your MOT is up to date

Too many drivers are on the road without a valid MOT. If your car is over three years of age, then you will need one or your motor insurance will be invalid meaning you could end up in trouble with the law. Remember that if you are travelling from Brighton to Birmingham, for instance, and planning to remain there for a few weeks that your MOT will need to be valid for the entire length of your road trip or you’ll need to have an inspection conducted by an approved mechanic during your stay. Allowing your MOT to overrun by a few weeks is not a defence if you are stopped by the police or have an accident when driving and want to make a claim.

Check your tyre inflation

Tyre inflation is crucial for both road safety and fuel consumption. If you’re driving a long way, from Westminster to West Lothian, for example, and you have improperly inflated tyres, then it will cost you a great deal more in fuel compared to having your tyres pumped up fully.

check your tyres

Partially flat tyres take more energy to turn, running your battery down or using up your petrol supplies much more quickly than would otherwise be the case. Besides, over or underinflated tyres don’t offer as much grip as ones that have been pumped to the recommended level, meaning it is harder to steer away from obstacles or brake safely.

Make sure you can see

Visibility is a must for any long trip by car. This means that your windscreen (back and front) demister system must be operational. If it isn’t, then you will need to have the car looked at by a professional.

Often, all it takes is a repair to a vent or for the air-conditioning to be repressurised for full visibility to ensue. Equally, make sure your mirrors are clear and adjustable. Expect poor driving conditions even if the weather report is good. Make sure your wipers function at full speed properly and that the wiper blades are new enough to clear rainwater as well as falling snow.

Book a car service

Whether you live in Canterbury and are driving to Catford or you keep your car in Whitechapel and want to drive to Winchester, having your car checked out by an expert is often a wise move. Today, you can book car servicing in London at DAT Tyres where all of the main safety and control systems will be inspected and tweaked for you to ensure optimal performance. Doing so before a long car journey is a good idea because it means you will have helped to preserve the value of your car by having your logbook stamped while also ensuring you’ll be less likely to run into trouble on the road and end up on the hard shoulder.

Many unserviced cars break down, especially when they’re hot after a longer-than-usual journey. Given the costs involved with emergency breakdown responses, it is often more cost-effective to have a service conducted beforehand anyway.

Check your lights work properly

Confirming your car’s lights work fully is easy but too many motorists fail to make these simple checks. With the engine running, you can check your indicators, dipped beam and main headlamps easily enough. You will need help from someone else to make sure your brake lights work properly and that when you put your car into reverse that your reversing lamp comes on, however. Don’t overlook your sidelights or your fog lamp, either. Replace any bulbs that need it before you begin your journey.

Ensure driver comfort

Whether you are a Londoner driving to the countryside or you live in a town and are heading to a big city a couple of hundred miles away, being comfortable behind the wheel is more than merely feeling okay. Driver comfort, such as the ability to turn the heating on when needed, is an important aspect of motoring safety.

In short, if you’re not comfortable, then you and your passengers are at risk of undue distractions, something that becomes more of a problem the longer you are behind the wheel. Ensure all of your necessary systems work, such as your seatbelts, to keep everyone safe and take plenty of breaks to stay alert when on the road.


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