For the short amount of time that it takes to check your car before setting off is a worthwhile investment, even if it does highlight a problem that you have to resolve, it is still more beneficial to get it sorted before leaving home.
What you should check on your car before you set off on your Summer holiday
- Fluids – Engine coolant and oil levels, power steering fluid, screen-wash,
- Electrics – Battery condition, lighting, warning lamps, horn, washers and wipers
- Tyres – Pressures, condition, spare wheel or sealant
- Brakes – Pad wear, brake fluid level
Other areas to consider having checked over by a Garage before setting off
- Drive Belts – Camshaft Timing Belt, Auxiliary Drive Belt (Alternator, Air Conditioning, Power Steering)
- Air Conditioning – Does it blow cold air? Does it smell?
What else have you forgotten to check?
- Insurance policy covers driving abroad
- Breakdown Insurance policy
- SatNav is updated / route planned
- Motoring Kit – Warning Triangle, Bulbs and Fuses, Fluorescent Jackets, Breathalysers, First Aid kit
- Vignette to travel in certain countries and cities (similar to Road Tax)
- Travel Insurance (home and abroad)
- Passport and Driving Licence
- Dash Cam
- Credit Card for Toll Roads
All of this is common sense and can easily be eliminated by having the car serviced before setting off. There are always other factors that can lead to a breakdown, such as mis-fuelling, accidents or even getting lost en-route. This is when Insurances are invaluable and even if you don’t need to use it, it gives you peace of mind.
It is also a good idea to check for the latest motoring rules and regulations of countries that you may be travelling through on your journey. It seems that many more are being introduced on a regular basis and if you are unaware of any then it may cost you dearly.
Staying comfortable during your trip
- Refreshments are a must when driving long distances and particularly in hot climates. Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding eating bread can lead to higher levels of energy and concentration.
- Keeping the Air Conditioning on but on ‘Fresh Air’ rather than ‘Recirculate’ which can lead to dehydration.
- Entertainment is an absolute ‘must have’ when travelling long distances or even when sat in a traffic jam. DVD players are great to keep the kids entertained for hours on end.
- Sunglasses and prescription glasses are also a ‘must have’ along with suitable window tinting in hot climates to protect skin from burning.
- Plan your journey with plenty of convenience stops and to pick up additional fuel which gives you an opportunity to walk around for a few minutes to avoid cramps and to stay alert for longer.
Above all, enjoy the road trip and get to your holiday destination in one piece and as stress-free as possible, but remember to check the car for the return journey.
Happy Summer Holidays !
Edited by The Motorists Guide