As holiday season gets in to full swing and the kids break up from school, families throughout the land start thinking about going away on their summer trip. Whether it’s camping, a holiday park, luxury hotel or just the journey to the airport making sure your car is in good shape before you head off is a wise idea. No one wants a breakdown or accident to ruin their trip, spending an hour or two checking your car could save you hours of stress and wasted holiday time, so here’s what you should be looking at …
Get your car serviced before you go
Is your car due for a service? Make an appointment to have it checked over before you leave. Even if your annual service isn’t yet due, it’s as well to have your car looked at to ensure that it’s in tip-top shape for the journey. You’ll generally be doing a much longer journey than normal, so you really don’t want to be taking chances – and breaking down would certainly get your journey off to a bad start.
Carry out checks
Even if you’ve had your car serviced, it’s still a good idea to perform checks at home. Make sure your tyres are at the correct pressure, and that all of them are in good condition. Also check the oil level, lights, coolant level and battery. Don’t forget the windscreen washers; in the drier weather conditions, there could be a lot of dust on the roads, especially if you’re driving on country roads.
Check where fuel stations are
Running out of petrol or diesel isn’t just an inconvenience – you’ll either have to call a garage or hike to a fuel station with a container (and it has to be a proper fuel can). It’s also potentially damaging to your car. The sediment that’s left when the tank runs dry can clog up your engine; as for diesels, you could be left with a very expensive bill because of damage to the engine. There are apps to help you find petrol stations, although it’s always a good move to fill up when you see one.
Ensure it’s ready for the weather
With everyone heading off on holiday at the same time, traffic jams are almost a certainty on UK roads. Many motorists fall foul of this, with their car overheating in the queues. Make sure your car has enough coolant and that you carry spare water in the boot. Check your air conditioning is working properly, even in the British summer it soon gets hot inside a car, and you’ll be especially glad of your air con if you are at a standstill!
Take out breakdown cover
Cars always seem to choose the most inconvenient time to break down! So if you don’t already have breakdown cover, take it out before you leave for your holiday. It can save you a lot of stress, as well as money. Calling a local garage to come out is difficult, because you don’t know any in the area (assuming they’re open), and it can prove very expensive. Having breakdown cover is even more important if you’re going abroad – you can take out a policy to cover you in Europe for the duration of your trip.
Bonus tip: Going on a trip is also a good impetus to give your car a thorough clean inside and out. Devote a couple of hours of your own time or treat your car to a valet service.