Here's a useful mnemonic promoted by Ray Mears in his BBC "Extreme Survival" series in April 2000, listing the basic vehicle items that should always be checked before starting any long journey:

" P-E-T-R-O-L "

(Petrol, Electrolyte, Tyres, Radiator, Oil, Lights)

"Petrol" is used here as an acronym (a word formed from the initial letters of other words) to provide a fundamental checklist of all the simple but important things to check for regularly, as well as before any particuarly long journey:

  • Petrol: Enough in the tank? Spare jerry-can stored away safely?
  • Electrolyte: Enough distilled water in each battery cell to cover the plates?
  • Tyres: Correct tyre pressures? Any worn tread or damaged areas? Spare tyre okay?
  • Radiator: Sufficient water level? And if not, is there a leak dripping from the hoses?
  • Oil: Is the dipstick oil level between minimum and maximum? Any oil leaking onto the ground?
  • Lights: All working okay? Clean or dirty glass? Spare bulbs and fuses on board?

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