If you’re heading off on a long road trip, you need to check your van before you go. While you’re at home it’s fairly easy to fix problems and your local garage probably isn’t far away; on the road, you may be miles from anywhere when it breaks down.

First check that you have all your paperwork

If you have problems with the vehicle, you’ll need your service log and registration papers. Remember to take insurance and breakdown companies’ phone numbers with you.

What’s the last time you had a full check-up? Is one due shortly? It might be a good idea to bring it forward and get it done before the trip.

Check your levels

All the different fluids in your engine need checking.

  • Check your oil with the dipstick; if it’s running low, top it up. (If you’ve been putting off an oil change, get it done now.)
  • Check the windscreen washer fluid, and top it up if you need to. While you’re about it, check your wipers – are they doing a good job? If not, replacing them is an easy job.
  • Check the levels of antifreeze and coolant.
  • Check your brake fluid. If it’s a little bit low, top it up; if it is very low, or fills and then disappears, you may want to get your brakes checked professionally, as there could be a problem.

Check your tyres

First of all, inspect visually to make sure your tread hasn’t worn bare. Then measure the air pressure; you’ll find the recommended PSI figure on the side of the tyre. Check the spare tyre too!

Check your brakes

If they squeal, groan or grate, get them professionally checked.

Check your lights

Make sure they’re all working. If you park with the back of the van facing a wall or window you’ll be able to see the rear indicators, reversing and brake lights.

Make sure your battery’s charged and the terminals aren’t corroded.

Finally, even though you’ve checked everything’s working, pack an emergency kit with a strong torch, jump leads, a first aid kid, and basic tool kit. And include a packet of baby wipes, as there’s nothing worse than having oily hands after you’ve fixed your engine!