Taking off in your vehicle for a long haul takes a lot of confidence in that vehicle to get you where you intend to go. However, way too many vehicle owners develop a false sense of confidence in their vehicle without considering that it is a machine with limitations and ample room for things to go severely wrong. If you are planning to head out on a long trip in your car, gauging the health of the engine is one of the smartest things to do. Towing services are happy to take you to an auto repair shop for a fix, but it is best to avoid getting stranded at all. Here are a few quick ways to check the health of your engine before taking off.
Take a look at the oil and oil pressure.
Check the oil and make sure the levels are where they should be. If you are a little low, grab a flashlight and a rag and check for any leaks. If your car has been parked for a bit, look for oily spots on the driveway. If the oil looks dark and cruddy, have it changed. Start your car and drive it around the block and watch the oil pressure as well. In general, any oil pressure below 15 to 20 PSI or over 80 PSI while in motion and the engine has had time to warm up is not good.
Check that your temperature levels are where they should be.
Overheating is a common reason for people to have to reach out for help because their car has failed them on the highway. This happens for a lot of reasons, but a few likely culprits can be lacking engine coolant and having a failed radiator. Before you head out, take your car for a quick trip down the road a few miles and watch for the temperature reading on your instrument panel. Staying out of the red is what you want for sure, but you should also watch to make sure the engine heats up properly after it's been in action for a bit.
Make sure your battery is functioning properly.
Lost battery power can easily leave you stranded, even though it is not so common for this to happen to drivers unless their battery is weak before they leave the house. Therefore, testing your battery before you leave is always a good idea. Having your battery tested is as simple as swinging by an automotive repair shop or parts store and asking if they can do a battery charge check. Most will do so without charging you much if anything at all.