Holiday checklist before driving abroad

Taking a car on a foreign road trip presents its own unique challenges. Taking a vehicle on an extended drive, far from home, will require advance planning and taking precautions to avoid possible mechanical problems during the trip. Before venturing abroad it might be a good idea to go through the following holiday checklist to make sure the vehicle is in top touring condition.

Give the vehicle fluids an inspection

Generally, it is advisable for car owners to take their vehicles to a qualified mechanic for a full inspection and maintenance check before a long trip. However, there are a few basic checks that can be carried out without recourse to the local garage. One of these is to check the vehicle's fluid levels, the oil, water, antifreeze and windscreen washer fluid. Many owners will find they are easily capable of changing the oil or topping up these fluid levels on their own. Others may need to arrange an oil change at a garage.

Perform essential vehicle maintenance

Along with the fluid checks, other important vehicle maintenance tasks must be performed. These include checking the condition and pressure of the tyres, inspecting the light and taking a look at the condition of the windscreen wipers. Tyre pressure is a very important item to monitor, since low pressure can lead to reduced traction and possible accidents. Using a tyre pressure gauge is simple and will ensure that all the tyres are correctly inflated. It is also important to inspect the tread condition on all tyres, including the spare. If the tread depth is less than or close to 1.6 millimetres, the tyre should be replaced before embarking on a trip. The vehicle's external lights should also be in good repair. This includes the headlights, taillights, brake lights and direction indicators.

Essential items to take along

As part of the preparations for the trip, vehicles should be stocked with essential items and supplies that are likely to be required while on the road. Additional vehicle fluids, such as oil and antifreeze, are important, as is a complete set of replacement light bulbs. Well-prepared motorists will also include an emergency car repair kit that includes basic tools, a warning triangle and a fully inflated spare tyre in case a puncture or blow out occurs. Having up-to-date car insurance is another necessary item before setting out on a road trip. Policies should cover any potential situation that drivers may encounter while on holiday.