Heading off on a camping trip is always going to be a fun adventure, especially when it offers much-needed (usually) time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or you’re going on a much longer trip, one thing you’ll definitely need to do is prepare well for it – camping is fun, but without good prep, it can be a horrible experience, not to mention a potentially dangerous one.
Although your first thoughts will probably be about making sure you’ve got the right gear and plenty of food, for example, there’s one thing you’ll need to remember to take care of and prepare – your vehicle. Read on to find out how to do it so you’ll never have to worry about a breakdown or being stranded no matter where you choose to camp.
Check The Brakes
Before you hit the road on your camping adventure, it’s crucial to ensure your vehicle’s brakes are working well. Brakes are so important, and they make the vehicle a safe one to use, and you’ll definitely want them to perform well and in the right way when you’re driving to your campsite or taking a day trip, especially when you might have to drive on rugged and uneven terrain.
If you want to inspect your brakes yourself, you’ll need to make a checklist so you don’t forget anything, and that checklist has to include your brake pads, brake fluid, brake lines and hoses, and you’ll also want to carry out an emergency brake test (so you’ll need to find a quiet spot to do it in so you’re not putting yourself or anyone else in danger).
If you know what you’re looking for, these checks are fairly simple, but most people don’t know what they’re looking for, and it’s easy to overlook something small but important. That’s why it’s usually best to find somewhere that specializes in car and truck brake services to do the checks (and any work that’s needed) for you. In that way, you can be sure that your vehicle is truly safe.
Check Your Tires
Having good brakes is clearly crucial, but having good tyres is equally as important, so you’ll need to check these before you head off as well. Your tyres are what give you traction and stability when you’re driving, and when they’re in good condition, you’ll have much more control over the vehicle, making it safer.
The first thing to do is perform a tyre pressure check, as this helps you control the car, but it’s also good for fuel efficiency. You’ll need to check the driver’s manual or the inside of the driver’s door to find out the right pressure for your specific vehicle and make sure the spare tyre (which you’ll definitely need to pack) is at the right pressure as well as the ones on the car itself.
Also check the tyre treads, as you’ll need good tread depth to keep a grip on slippery roads and off-road trails. Some tyres have gauges you can use to see exactly how good the treat is, but there are other tricks you can use, including the penny test, depending on how sure you want to be.
There are various different types of fluids in your vehicle, and all of them do an important job. Before you go on your camping trip (or any long journey, come to that), it’s a good idea to check these fluids and top them up if need be.
Engine oil is an easy one to check, as your vehicle will have a dipstick in the engine that you can use to see if your oil is at the right level. If it’s low or doesn’t look clean, it’s wise to get it changed before your next big trip.
Your vehicle’s cooling system is a vital element, especially if you’re going to be driving in different temperatures. Again, you can do a quick visual check of the coolant reservoir and make adjustments if necessary.
You’ll also need plenty of transmission fluid, but this isn’t always so easy to check without specialist knowledge, so unless you know what you’re doing, it’s better to have an expert look at this for you.
Finally, don’t forget the simple yet essential windscreen washer fluid. If you don’t have good visibility when you’re driving, you’re never going to be safe or feel confident behind the wheel, and having plenty of windscreen washer fluid in your vehicle (and an extra bottle in the vehicle to ensure you don’t run out) means you’ll always have a great view.