Our top tips for long motorway journeys this summer

If you’ve decided to holiday in the UK this summer, it’s important to check that your vehicle is road-ready. That’s why we’ve compiled some top tips for pre-checks to get your holiday off to the best start! 

Under the bonnet

Engine coolant

Protect your engine from extreme cold and hot temperatures by keeping coolant topped up, especially if you’re likely to be in slow moving traffic on a hot day! Identify the level in the radiator reservoir under the bonnet and ensure that it’s between the minimum and maximum lines. Ideally use a mixture of 50% water and 50% antifreeze for normal driving conditions.

Oil dipstick

Keep your car running smoothly by checking the dipstick! Usually identified by an orange or yellow ring pull, remove and wipe the stick with a tissue or cloth to reveal the oil level, making sure again that it is between the minimum and maximum markers. (Be sure to use the right oil for your car by checking the handbook.)

Windscreen wash

This is easy to take for granted, but there’s nothing worse than driving with squashed bugs stuck to the window, so keep on top of how much you have before you leave. Although water does the trick, investing in a premium wash formula, available at most petrol stations, will work wonders and also prevents freezing and expanding in the pipes during winter.

Around the car

Tyre pressure & tread

Stay safe and keep your tyres road-ready at all times, but especially before a long trip. Underinflated tyres often cause blow outs whilst overinflated tyres are more likely to puncture, so finding the perfect balance is essential. Your vehicle handbook will tell you the tyre pressure recommended for your vehicle, so it’s a key document to refer to. Most petrol stations have air on the forecourt for a small fee or you can choose to invest in a digital tyre inflator to do this at home.

The minimum legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6mm in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre and a tread depth indicator or simply the 20p test can help you easily identify whether or not you’re abiding by the law! Using a 20p piece, stand it up in the groove of the tyre. If you can’t see the outer band of the coin, you’re ready to go, if you can see the band then you’ll need to have them inspected by a professional.

Speaking of tyres, make sure you don’t leave without your spare wheel, car jack, and a locking wheel nut key. This way you’ll have everything you need if you do unfortunately get a puncture, and also ensures that any recovery vehicles you call will have the necessary locking wheel nut to hand! Don’t forget that even the spare tyre can lose pressure over time even if it’s not been used!

Tyre Condition

Be sure to also check the general condition of the tyres and not just the pressure and tread. Look over them for any cracking, bulging, or other anomalies. If you are unsure, seek advice from a professional.

Lights

Check headlights, brake lights, reverse lights, indicators, internal lights, and any others before you set off. You can do this yourself by parking near a white wall or reflective surface like a window (be sensible though, no pulling up on a main road or double yellows!) or you can get someone to check for you.

Windscreen Wipers & Blades

Although it’s technically summer, you can’t trust the UK weather so keeping your wipers in good shape is ideal. They aren’t the toughest part of the car so it’s inevitable that they’ll become damaged over time. Check for any splits in the rubber and make sure that they’re working properly so you have them ready if you need them. Don’t forget as well that they’re essential to clearing grime and bugs as well as water, so don’t neglect them even if the sun is out!

Air Con

If your car has air conditioning, you’ll want to make sure it’s outputting as much as it can especially if you are lucky with the weather. Test it out to check that it’s not blowing warm air and that you won’t be left overheating!

So, now you’ve checked over your car you’re (hopefully) all set to go! However, remember to always refer to your vehicle’s handbook for exact use instructions as vehicles do vary. You can see our professionals by finding your nearest dealership’s contact details here.

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