Summer is here and millions of Brits are preparing for their summer holidays. Whether you are holidaying in the UK, taking your car overseas, or driving to the airport, one thing is certain: nothing ruins your holiday like car troubles! Follow this simple guide to make sure that your vehicle is in great shape to take you from home to holiday – and back again.
Start with the wheels
Wheels should be one of your first checks before any long journey. First up, a couple of weeks before you go away, check your tyre pressure. Your vehicle manual will tell you what your car’s recommended pressure is, both unladed and fully loaded. If your pressure is on the low side, top it up then check again in the days before you travel. If you have lost a significant amount of pressure, you could have a slow puncture; take your vehicle to a local tyre specialist to get it checked out rather than risk it on a long journey.
If your tyres are relatively old, check the tyre tread. The legal minimum depth is 1.6mm but anything under 4mm puts you at risk. If in doubt, pop to your local tyre specialist.
Travelling is thirsty work for your vehicle as well as you! Check that your oil is topped up, and that you have good levels of coolant, brake fluids and windscreen washer. If your car is due for a service before you go, these should have been checked by your mechanic, but double check with them to be on the safe side.
Check that all of your lights are working – including fog lights and side lights. If you are missing any, get them replaced before you head off. If you are planning on driving abroad, you will need head light adjustors to avoid dazzling fellow road users when driving at night. These are a legal requirement and will save you from being stopped by police when overseas.
To make your holiday, stress-free, it pays to spend a little time thinking about vehicle essentials:
- Paperwork – driving licence, a map of where you are going (don’t really solely on sat nav), relevant travel documents for the country you are travelling in.
- Water – to replace windscreen fluid or coolant if required.
- Jump leads – in case of flat battery.
- Compulsory items – different countries require you to carry specific items which could include fire extinguisher, high visibility clothing for each passenger, warning triangle, first aid kit and breathalysers. Check for the regulations for each specific country.
- Check your breakdown service – before you head off, make sure that your insurance, breakdown and vehicle recovery policies are up to date. If taking a caravan or trailer, make sure they are included in your recovery policy.
If you are in any doubt at all about the condition of your vehicle, make an appointment with a local garage and get it checked out before you go anywhere; a small investment now could save you a headache (and a big bill) on your holiday. Got any top tips for holidays? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.