Essential Safety Checks on Your Car before Your Summer Holiday
You might drive around in your car every day but if you are using it to go on your summer holiday, the chances are that you will be travelling a far greater distance plus navigating through unknown areas.
Most of us expect our car to be safe enough to drive every day but if you're going further afield, it's worth taking the time to carry out a few more checks.
You don't need to be a mechanic to perform the basics so if you know your way around your engine reasonably well, you could probably do the checks yourself. Here's a few of the essential safety checks you should always carry out before you go on your summer holiday.
A full service
If your car is in good condition and running well, a service isn't strictly necessary before you go away if you have had one when it fell due.
Most people opt for an annual service as this is a good way to check some of the fundamental parts which can easily wear out and end up causing bigger problems. If you are a high mileage driver, you may want to get your car serviced more frequently.
If you are due to have a full service, arranging for it to take place before you go will provide you with the peace of mind that a qualified mechanic has checked your car over thoroughly.
Toolkit and emergency provisions
You might not know one end of a spanner from another but keeping a toolkit in your car could be very useful in the event that you break down.
Although you might not be able to do it yourself, if it's something simple such as changing a tyre, you might be able to persuade a passer-by to give you a hand. Having a toolkit in the car means that if a friendly stranger is willing and able to help out, they will have the necessary tools for the job.
In addition to a toolkit, keeping emergency provisions in your boot is essential. This might mean bottled water, a warning triangle (to protect from other road users) as well as blankets. Even in the height of summer, it can get surprisingly cold at night. If you are going on a winter holiday, you might also want to include a snow shovel just in case.
Checking the car
Tyres not inflated to the right pressure level can be a major cause of accidents so it's vital that you check what the correct pressure should be and top your tyres up to this level accordingly. Don't forget to include the spare tyre in your safety checks.
It's also essential that you check the tyres for bulges or any excessive wearing of the various parts or edges.
Don't forget if you have locking wheel nuts you will need to see that they are included in the toolkit.
This will be checked during a service but its good driving practice to keep an eye on it between services.
Using a dipstick you can easily see whether there is any oil and whether it needs to be refilled. Don't rely on services and warning lights to let you know about any potential problems.
Although it may seem like a frivolous inclusion, if you can't see properly out of your windscreen you will find it much harder to respond quickly to road emergencies. It's also illegal to drive on the roads without a functioning screenwash system.
Don't be tempted to use plain water; this won't remove the grime and the oil which can very quickly become ingrained into your windows.
When the engine is cool, make sure you take a look to see how much coolant you have; this is also the place when the levels of antifreeze can be checked.
An often-forgotten part of the process, it's a good idea to check that both lights are operational and at the same level before setting off on your holidays.
As well as your main beam, your fog lights, side lights and indicators all need to be looked at.
Checking that your car is in the best possible shape is an essential step in protecting both you and your family before setting off. Once you have the peace of mind which comes with knowing your car is fully road-safe, you can set off and enjoy the holiday ahead of you!