10 Canny Car Checks before setting off on your summer holiday
Planning a getaway road trip? Be sure to give your car this once-over before you hit the road.
With continued unpredictability of holidays abroad over the summer season, most of us will rather opt for a local staycation as a safer choice.
Before you head off on your UK journey, your motor car needs to up to scratch. This is particularly essential given how many cars have stood idle for months throughout the lockdowns.
Below, we examine the crucial checks necessary before loading your car and getting on the road for that long-needed holiday break:
- Check the engine oil, brake fluid and battery. Make sure your car is level, then to inspect the oil, take out the dipstick, use a cloth or paper towel to wipe this clean, put it back in, and check again. Examine the brake fluid level. Ensure your car battery is in good condition and completely charged;
- Inspect the engine water coolant. It is essential to maintain the coolant level as full as possible (but do not overfill). If the engine overheats, this can lead to major engine damage. You will locate the water coolant container under the bonnet. Make sure the coolant level is between the minimum and maximum marks. If the container needs topping up, check the car manual for any coolant additive that may be required. Most importantly, do not check the coolant levels while the engine is hot; this needs to be done when the engine is cool;
- Clean the windshield. See to it you have a clear view of the road. Examine the condition of the wipers and check they function correctly. Top up the windscreen washer water. Should there be any windscreen chips, have these fixed immediately;
- Check tyre pressures. Make sure your car tyres are pumped to the correct pressure, and examine the tyres for any signs of damage, nails or other potentially puncture-causing issues. The tread depth must be greater than the minimum legal requirement of 1.6mm. If you do not have a specialist tread gauge, simply position a 20p coin upright into the tread grooves, see if part of the outer band of the coin shows; this means the tyre is close to its legal limit. Remember to also check the spare tyre and that the locking wheel nut key is handy in case a tyre change is needed. Ensure the jack and wheel spanner are there and working. While at your car boot, remember to include a first aid kit, jumpstart cables, reflective warning signs and high-vis vest;
- Make certain all car lights are working. See to it that headlight lenses are clear and the lights working as they should be. Inspect the lights and indicators. Replace any bulbs as needed, or get your local garage to do this for you, before you go away;
- Check for warning lights. If there are any warning lights visible on your dashboard, check your car user manual and sort out the problems. If you are unable to do so or feel concerned, get to a qualified mechanic to do whatever necessary. You do not want car problems on the road;
- Do you have the correct car seats and seatbelts for your children? Ensure the child car seat is right for your kid’s height and weight. This is essential to keep little ones safe. If you’re unsure, go to an outlet such as Halfords for help. Make sure all seat-belts function correctly;
- Plan your trip. Prior to starting a long journey, pull up a chair and check on the best route to your intended destination. Use satnav or an app like Waze. Similarly, have a strategy for alternate routes should the traffic be heavy or delayed. Allow for stopping and rest time along the way. It is essential to take regular breaks from driving, to stretch your legs and enjoy some fresh air. Tiredness is a driver’s worst enemy. Make sure you have cash or your bank card to pay any road tolls or congestion charges;
- Get ready for a lengthy trip. Load lots of snacks, treats and water. Have a bottle of hand sanitiser handy. If you have youngsters, plan some in-car activities such as audiobooks or podcasts to amuse them and avoid boredom. Should they have screen displays, ensure the batteries are charged and films downloaded beforehand. If you’ve not driven much as a result of the lockdowns, go for a few shorter spins in advance of your big summer journey; and,
- Your car insurance, tax and MOT. Before departing on your summer trip check your car insurance is current, and that you have the contact details for any breakdown cover, loss of keys and the like.
If your car insurance is due for renewal, use a company like MoneySuperMarket to get comparison quotes and save money on your policy. You may qualify for vouchers up to £150 to pay for or reduce the cost of your MOT, servicing or new tyres – having your car road-ready need not leave you out of pocket.
Don’t forget, most importantly, to book your sitters through House and Home Sitters so you might join the many happy homeowner clients who are able to go away with complete peace of mind, knowing their homes and pets are in the capable hands of professional house sitters, experienced pet sitters, insured, reliable and friendly. You need look no further than House and Home Sitters. Forget the rest and come straight to the best – House and Home Sitters Ltd, est. 2013