As soon as the Summer holidays begin, families flock to the motorway to travel across the UK to indulge in their annual family holiday. The news will be flooded with reports of Motorway chaos as the levels of traffic become increasingly congested, but with the correct planning and preparation leading up to the Summer holiday, you could avoid being stuck in gridlock with screaming children. Here are a few tips and tricks for preparing your car this Summer!
1. Travel Times
According to The Telegraph, Traveling early morning and after 6 PM on Saturday means you are less likely to get stuck in traffic, and the best days to travel are between Monday – Wednesday.
2. The Basic Summer Car Checks
Before going on any long distance journey, you should always check the following four features on your car. Doing so can prevent potential issues and
breakdowns in the near future.
● Windscreen Wipers
Before you go away, make sure to check your wiper blades for general wear and tear – after all, the British weather is as predictable as our current political climate. Alongside this having working windscreen wipers is a legal requirement, and will result in MOT failure.
If your windscreen wipers are no longer working, you can resolve this by replacing them yourself. On most cars all you have to do is slide the wiper out of its casing and are replace them with a new one, or find a local garage, which on average will charge £126.41 to repair and replace wiper blades.
● Tread Depth and Tyre Pressure
Tyres are one of the most important parts of your car you should check, and luckily the majority of problems are easy to spot. Because Summer Holidays often involve really long journeys, it is crucial you check your car’s tread depth and tyre pressure. You can do this by taking each wheel in turn and checking for cuts, bulges and gouges. If you find any, take your car to your local garage and get it sorted.
Checking your tread depth is pretty easy and takes seconds. Simply take a 20 pence piece and place it between the lines of the tyre. If the inner line of the 20 pence piece is covered, you’re safe! The law requires 1.6mm tread depth across the middle two thirds of the tyre, but remember; the more tread you have, the great your tyre’s ability to stop the car when the road is wet!
● Headlights, Brake Lights and Indicators
Before you start your travels, make sure your headlights, brake lights and indicators work. Working lights is a legal requirement, and you will not pass your MOT if any of these are broken or distorted. If any bulbs or reflectors need changing, you can do this yourself or book your car in a the local garage!
● Air Conditioning Checks
Working air conditioning in cars isn’t a legal requirement, but if you stick your family in a boiling hot car with no cool airflow a few laws could be broken… So, turn your air temperature to the coldest setting and your fans up – if ice cold air is blowing out then your air conditioning is working perfectly!
If you have any issues, check the refrigerant inside the system – it may need to be replenished. If that doesn’t work then book your car in at your local garage and get your air conditioning regassed!
● Coolant Checks
Coolant increases the boiling point of water, therefore reducing the chances of your car’s engine overheating. If this were to happen, checkout our guide about what to do if your car overheats. Alongside this, it also protects your car’s engine against freezing. Once your car’s engine has cooled down, simply pop the bonnet of your car and locate the vehicle’s coolant reservoir. If the levels are underneath the minimum mark then top it up with the correct type of antifreeze.
Alongside this, it also protects your car’s engine against freezing. Once your car’s engine has cooled down, simply pop the bonnet of your car and locate the vehicle’s coolant reservoir. If the levels are underneath the minimum mark then top it up with the correct type of antifreeze.
3. Planning and Preparation
Summer Car Equipment
- A warning triangle – in the event of an accident or breakdown on a carriageway, warning triangles should be placed 45 meters behind your car.
- High-visibility vests – a high visibility vest for every person in the car should be in the boot. If you break down and need to leave the vehicle then these jackets make it easier for other drivers spot you.
- A first aid kit.
- Spare batteries and a Torch – any problems at night will be resolved by a torch!
- Spare engine oil – if in some unfortunate circumstance your car gets an oil leak, a spare can of the correct grade oil could save you from further problems!
- Change for tolls – if you end up going through tolls, ensure you have the correct change.
If you’re looking at going away for the summer, check out our basic MOT maintenance guide – this should also help you prevent any issues on your travels, so you don’t have to deal with a breakdown either! If you’re looking for advice before you go on your summer holiday, or are looking for a trustworthy local garage to service your car for an MOT, then do not hesitate to get in touch!