How to prepare for long car journeys might be on your mind as we hurtle towards the festive season where so many of us visit family and friends at a distance.
We can all be guilty of taking our cars for granted but need to consider taking extra care when we are planning a longer journey. Giving your car a good check before you go can pay dividends in the long rum.
Make sure the car is serviced, either as part of regular servicing or as a one-off. Look after your car and it should look after you.
Basic checks should be oil, water and washer fluid – ideally every week but certainly before you depart.
Check tyres for tread depth. The law requires a minimum of 1.6 mm throughout a continuous band comprising the central three-quarters of breadth of the tread. Be aware that if tyres reach the minimum their ability to grip the road will be reduced affecting braking and steering. Consider replacing tyres before they get to this stage. Check for uneven wear – it could be a symptom of a suspension problem.
Brakes should be checked. Many local servicing centres including Kwikfit.com offer free safety checks and will advise if discs or pads need replacement.
Check windscreen and all glass for scratches or other damage. Any chips in the wiper swept area are a potential MoT failure and should be repaired, possibly free of charge through your insurance policy. Make sure the screen and windows are clean and that washers/wipers are working correctly.
All lights fitted to a vehicle must be working. Many suppliers can provide a set of spare bulbs specific to your model. Check headlamp alignment to ensure that you have the best vision without dazzling oncoming traffic. If you are to tow a trailer or caravan you must also check the lights every time you attach to the tow bar.
Finally make sure you have things that will keep you warm from blankets to flasks. I always ensure we have a comprehensive first aid kit in the car and if traveling with children, make sure you have some activities that will keep them entertained to avoid the “Are we nearly there?” saga.
Check out #CarSafetyChecklist on social media for more tips.
Safe journey and happy holidays!