The car you'll be driving will have to be in spanking, trouble-free condition. Remember that while having a breakdown in the city is a minor inconvenience, a problem miles away from civilisation can be a major one. Get the car thoroughly checked and serviced and replace any parts showing excessive wear.
EXAMINE the vehicle thoroughly for: a) Mechanical fitness There are certain things that need to be checked before leaving for a holiday. These factors are very important in the proper functioning of your car.
i) Engine tune-up: For the best performance to be extracted out of your engine, it is essential that the engine should be properly tuned. Get your engine tuned, preferably by a professional engineer, before you leave for your trip.
ii) Brakes: Make sure that the brakes in your car are properly functioning and that they are not worn out. Get the brake pads and liners checked and cleaned and if they need replacement, get them replaced. Brakes play the all-important function of safety in an automobile, so make sure that all four brakes are proper. Also check the parking brake for any defects. Ensure that it is all right.
iii) Clutch: Going for a holiday to faraway places most of the time involves encountering steep slopes and ghats. Climbing such slopes means that the clutch should be perfect. Check the clutch properly — this means checking the pressure plate and the clutch plate, and also adjust the play as per the necessary requirement.
b) Fluid leakages: A car has many kinds of lubricants and fluids that perform different functions. See to it that there is no leakage of any kind from the car. This can be seen if you see a wet portion under the car. Get all these kind of leakages traced and promptly repaired.
c) Condition of hoses and belts: A car has many hoses and belts to perform specific functions. Check all these hoses and belts for any cracks or signs of fatigue or wear due to which there is a chance of them breaking. See to it that such worn-out belts and hoses are replaced.
d) Proper function of electrical equipment: The car is a maze of electrical equipment such as lights, indicators, and fuses. Check them step by step.
i) Lights: Make sure that all the lights — headlights, tail-lights and interior lights are working properly. See that the headlights are properly focussed.
ii) Indicators: Check all the indicators, both front and rear, and see that they are functioning properly.
iii) Fuses: Inspect all fuses of the car and check to see whether any one is faulty.
e) Condition of tyres It is absolutely essential to check the condition of all the tyres of the car, including the spare one. Make sure that all the tyres are in proper condition and they are not completely worn out. If the tyres are worn out, replace them immediately as worn-out tyres deteriorate a car’s handling. It is preferable that all five tyres be serviced by professional tyre technicians for any kind of internal or external maladies, fractures or damage to the rims. A day before setting off for your trip, go to the service station and get the air pressure checked and correctly filled as per the manufacturer’s specifications. In case of cars having modern tubeless tyres, it would be advisable to carry one or two tyre tubes in case there is more than one puncture. The tyre can be repaired by cutting off the valve of the tyre and fixing a tube in its place.
f) Things to carry for your car 1.Small quantity of brake fluid (as per manufacturer’s specification). 2.Road maps. 3.Tool Kit 4.Small quantity of engine oil (as per manufacturer’s specification). 5.Small quantity of coolant (as per manufacturer’s specification). 6.Distilled water for battery. 7.Spare hoses and belts. 8.Torch. 9.Owner’s manual. 10.Complete set of car documents.
g) Music! Music is essential during a driving vacation. So a good head unit is a worthwhile investment. It helps reduce fatigue and there’s something exciting about listening to your favourite stuff while cruising along splendid landscapes. Remember to carry your compact discs and cassette in a special case or box locally available for this purpose. Never keep them exposed to the sun or on the dashboard. Put them either in the door pockets or the glove compartment.
Packing luggage Try to restrict luggage so that it can all fit in the boot. Carrying luggage on a roof rack is not advisable. This is because you can never leave the car out of your sight and plus, it hampers aerodynamics causing reduced speed and increased fuel consumption.
Store everything, except the food hamper and camera bags, in the boot. Remember to pack in such a way that items you might need during the drive are easily accessible.
All items in the passenger cabin should be secure. They should not move about during hard cornering or braking.
It is very dangerous to place anything on the board in front of the rear windshield. Besides being a hindrance to the driver’s view, these objects can cause injury during hard braking.
Keep drinking water, liquid soap and napkins handy. This is what you need the most during a long drive.
First Aid Remember that a First Aid kit should be a mandatory part of your car. Also, keep it within easy reach in the glove compartment or a cubbyhole.
Articles in the kit should include 1.Assorted adhesive bandages in different sizes. 2.A roll of sticking plaster. 3.Sterile gauze pads and rolls of one- and two-inch gauze. 4.Cotton triangular bandages and long strips that can be used for slings, bandages and ties (these can be cut from an old sheet). 5.Paper tissues or a roll of toilet paper. 6.Safety pins, a pair of scissors and tweezers. 7.Thermometer. 8.Basic medicines, including acetaminophen, antihistamines, antibiotic cream, hydrogen peroxide and antiseptic spray or cream. 9.Syrup of ipecac (to induce vomiting in poisoning emergencies
In addition, if a member of the travelling group has a chronic disease, such as asthma or diabetes, keep an extra supply of medications he or she may need on hand.
Issue: 165 | May 2013
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