How to make sure your car is road-ready ahead of the summer holidays

Planning on getting away on a road trip? Here are some tips to make sure your car is kept up to scratch.

GEM Motoring Assist
GEM Motoring Assist

With foreign travel requiring a lot of planning and plenty of uncertainty around potential quarantines upon returning to the UK, the staycation is expected to prove hugely popular with families this summer.

However, with many people having not driven their cars much this year because of pandemic restrictions, one road safety charity has warned motorists to give their car a once over before heading off on a long journey.

GEM Motoring Assist chief executive Neil Worth said: “Nobody wants to start a holiday stranded at the roadside for hours. That’s why we are encouraging drivers to get some basic maintenance checks done on their car before setting off for a well-deserved summer break.

GEM Motoring Assist
(GEM Motoring Assist)

“Of course, we cannot predict when our car is going to malfunction, but by taking care of a few basic things we will be minimising the chance of something going wrong. That’s good news for everyone who simply wants a trouble-free road journey.”

Here are some basic checks you should do before hitting the road…

Tyres

The first thing to check is whether the tread depth is above the legal amount. The minimum is 1.6mm and the easiest way to check is to get a 20p and place it inside the tread. If the outer band is at all visible, your tyres could have illegal tread. You can also buy tyre tread depth checkers from most car parts stores.

Finally, check the pressure is correct in each tyre and increase it for heavy loads if required.

Fuel

When travelling longer distances, always set off with a full tank of fuel or a full battery if driving an electric vehicle. This helps to reduce any stress associated with finding a petrol station – the last thing you want is to run out of fuel while stuck in a traffic jam.

Batteries

Battery failures are a year-round problem for motorists, and on a hot day a weak battery could be drained in stop-start traffic with the air conditioning and passengers’ phones charging.

If you’re concerned about your battery health, find a local garage and ask them to check it for you.

GEM Motoring Assist
(GEM Motoring Assist)

Fluids

Fluids are one aspect that many motorists forget about checking, but it can be an incredibly simple way of avoiding a breakdown. Check the user manual to find out what levels fluids such as the oil and coolant need to be at and top up if necessary.

While you have the bonnet up, it’s worth also checking the windscreen washer fluid levels.

Lights

Although a failed light won’t cause you to break down, it can be dangerous to you and those around you. It only takes a moment to check, so turn on all your lights and indicators and quickly walk around the car to see if they’re on. You can ask a friend to check your brake lights, or park close to a wall and make sure pressing the brake illuminates the wall.

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