How to Check Your Car's Electrical Systems Before a Long Journey
If you are planning on heading out on a long road trip, you will want to ensure that your car is in top condition. Long road trips can place your car under extreme stress, causing small problems to become major issues. For this reason, you should carry out routine maintenance on your vehicle before setting off on your journey. Below is a guide to 2 things you should check to ensure your car's electrical systems are in good working order.
Check the Battery
The battery is responsible for providing the electrical power required to start the engine and to power the lights and other electrical systems in your vehicle. Before setting off, you should carry out a visual inspection of the battery in your car. You should remove the battery from under the bonnet and check it for any signs of damage such as cracks to the casing or leaking battery acid. If you notice any evidence of damage, you should have the battery replaced.
Next, check that the terminals on the battery are free from corrosion. If the terminals are covered in a white crusty substance, this is a classic sign of corrosion. To combat corrosion, you should make a paste by mixing baking soda and warm water. Disconnect the battery and apply this paste to the terminals. Brush the paste away using a toothbrush to remove the corrosion. Place the battery back under the bonnet and check that it is well secured.
Check the Bulbs
The headlights and taillights on your vehicle allow you to both see and be seen when driving in the dark or difficult weather conditions. You should ask someone else to sit in the car and to operate the headlight controls, setting them to high beam, corner beam and then low beam. While they do this, you should stand in front of the vehicle and check that the headlights are working properly. You should repeat this process with the indicators and rear brake and reversing lights. If you notice that any of the bulbs need replacing, you should consult your car's owners manual. It will contain details of the type of replacement bulb required.
If you notice that one headlight is much brighter than the one of the opposite side, this could be due to a wiring problem which is causing one set of bulbs to draw power from the set on the other side of the vehicle. You will have to have your car inspected by a mechanic to fix this problem.
If you have any concerns about your car, you should have it serviced at a car servicing centre.