Staycation Brits are setting new records with 57.9 million holidays at home in 2018, and 2019 set to be even higher based on Easter holiday data.
And those heading to Continental Europe are likely to drive given the environmental impact of flying and the risk of air travel disruption.
All that means millions using their car on holiday, so it is essential to carry out a few simple checks to avoid summer holiday heartache.
A recent study by Continental Tyres found that many of us find basic car checks challenging, with 40% uncomfortable assessing tyre tread depth, one in three unable to check oil levels and more than 20% struggling to even to top up screen wash.
Young people are even more hopeless with nearly half of 18-24-year-olds incapable of keeping their windscreen fluid full.
For motoring peace of mind, Continental Tyres have compiled a quick checklist of the top ten tips for safe and stress-free motoring.
Follow this expert guidance before you go, and make the most of your precious holiday time.
1) Keep your cool
Coolant is essential for keeping your engine cool, it’s very important to check your levels before you go. You’ll find your radiator reservoir under the bonnet (check your vehicle handbook if unsure), and top up if needed. Make sure to check when the engine is cold.
2) Oil’s well that ends well
Running out of oil is no joke – your car will grind to a halt and the engine damage could prove very costly. To check your oil, when on level ground, simply pull up the dipstick under your bonnet and ensure the level is between the two min and max markers. Top up if needed.
3) Tip top top-up
It’s very easy to top-up your screen wash and a clear view of the road is vital at any time. Located under your bonnet, though check your handbook if unsure, the windscreen reservoir is easy to access.
Top up with the ready-mixed bottles rather than just water as it cuts through dirt better and contains anti-freeze should you be travelling to colder climes. If you can’t see out of your windscreen properly you could be liable for a £60 fine and three points on your licence.
4) Under pressure?
Doing this once a month is a great habit, but you should certainly do it ahead of a long journey, especially if you will be loaded down more than normal. Underinflated tyres cost you more money in fuel and affect your braking distance, they can also cause tyre blowouts which can be extremely dangerous.
Incorrect tyre pressure also affects the life of the tyre by causing uneven wear. The correct pressure will be on the inside of your driver door or the vehicle handbook. Make sure you check tyre pressures at the start of a journey when they are cold and always check your spare as well (if you have one).
5) Tread carefully
The legal limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, though many experts recommend changing at 3mm to maintain performance and increase safety. Your tyres are vital, they get you moving and bring you safely to a stop.
They are the only contact your car has with the road so their grip and performance is crucial whether the surface is wet or dry and whatever the temperature. You can use a tread depth indicator or use a 20 pence piece. Place the coin in the central part of the tyre, within the tread, if you can see the outer edge of the 20p then you need to change your tyres.
6) Get a grip
It might be tiring but it cannot be overstated how much you rely on your tyres to literally keep you on the road. It is essential they are in good working order as potholes and occasionally clipping a curb can damage tyres and older tyres can crack. Visually check all tyres for obvious, including the spare if you have one, and replace any you need to.
7) Lights, camera, action
When heading on holiday you’re going to want to be seen and see clearly. Check all your lights including the reverse light, brake lights and indicators. You will need two of you for this!
8) Screen time
Long journeys to reach your holiday destination can mean your windscreen looks like a bug’s life. Make sure your wipers can keep a clear view of the road whether faced with dust, rain or whatever you might encounter.
9) Feeling deflated?
A puncture doesn’t have to be a holiday nightmare. If you have a spare tyre, remember your car jack and any locking wheel nuts. You might also consider getting a puncture repair kit so you can maintain mobility without having to replace a tyre at the side of the road in the event of a puncture. And next time you need to buy new tyres you might want to chat to the dealer about ‘run-flat’ tyres.
10) Breakdown, but no stress
These checks are simple and effective, though nothing can guarantee there won’t be a problem. If you want peace of mind and to avoid an extended interruption in the event of a breakdown be sure to have cover with a recognised motoring organisation to keep you moving.
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