Top down, Springsteen on and nothing but the open road. Here at IDEAL we’re road trip junkies. Nothing gets our juices flowing more than the thought of fun-filled adventures on the road. However, a road trip demands more preparation than just throwing your things in a car and hitting the road. After all, nobody wants to break down, stuck in the middle of nowhere with no mechanic nearby.

According to research, one of the biggest breakdown causes are flat or damaged tyres. So, to help minimise the risk of becoming stranded, TyrePlus has come up with an ebook aimed at #TyreKnowledge to help you identify any problems with your tyres before embarking on a long trip. In celebration of this handy guide we’ve come up with 5 IDEAL things to check in your car before a road trip alongside examining your tyres.

MAKE SURE YOUR CAR’S ROADWORTHY

Nothing will put a damper on your road trip like breaking down. So first things first, get your car in shape for the rigors of travel. Take your car for a spin before you set off and inspect it and if there are any problems, it will soon become apparentIf your car hasn’t been serviced in a while, then get one done well in advance. Even if all is up to date, it’s still worth going to your local garage and getting an experienced mechanic to inspect all the belts and hoses and windscreen wipers.

CHECK YOUR TYRES

As mentioned, before you set out, check your tyres. Low inflation can reduce fuel economy, costing you more in petrol (money better spent on snacks and coffee) and contribute to blow out related accidents. Likewise, running on over-inflated tyres can lead to blow-outs if the tyres get hot . In addition it can cause loss of traction, reduce tyre life, reduce grip and cause irregular wear.

MAKE SURE YOU’VE PACKED EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT

A well-stocked emergency travel/breakdown kit should be kept in the boot at all times. The kit should include a flashlight, jumper cables, extra fluid for your windscreen wipers and oil. And as tyres are one of the biggest breakdown problems, carrying a spare one is essential. In addition, if you’re confident/handy enough to change the tyre yourself without the help of your breakdown service, pack a jack and that special tool to get the wheel nuts off. It’s also a good idea to carry an empty fuel carrier as if you’re within walking distance of a petrol station, filling it up could be enough to get to your next destination, or at the very least, to the next petrol station.

CHECK YOU’VE GOT A SPARE PAIR OF KEYS

According to the AA, one of the biggest breakdown problems alongside tyre damage is key problems; either losing them or locking them in the car. So save yourself the embarrassment of calling out your breakdown cover provider and carry a spare car key in your purse at all times.

DOUBLE CHECK AND TEST YOUR LIGHTS AND HORN

Before you head out on a long journey, it is critical to assure that your lights and horns are working.  You should check both headlights and taillights as well as brake lights. Parking lights, turning signals, and license plate light are a few other things to check out when you are testing the lights. And don’t forget to test the horn. Honking it a few times before you set off in celebration is also prerequisite.