Vital checks before driving off for a summer break

Vital checks before driving off for a summer break 6th August 2015

Although more and more people are driving as part of their summer breaks each year, the number of drivers across the UK who are taking time to check their vehicles and make sure they are up to scratch for the task at hand remains high. Many are not even carrying out basic safety checks before they hit the road, be it to drive to an airport, across Europe or to a staycation destination. 

According to the AA, there are a number of easy checks that can be carried out before you leave for your holiday, but even though these can mitigate against breakdowns and sitting at the side of the road when you should be enjoying your time away, many are just not prepared to put in the work. 

So what should you be checking before you head off this summer? We take a look at some of the most important tips for pre-holiday maintenance checks this summer. 

Tyres

The easiest check to carry out and one of the most obvious places to see when things have gone wrong are tyre checks, yet these are surprisingly sparse among those who are going on holiday. According to the AA, 21 per cent of people will not check the pressure of their tyres before heading off on a long drive, while 67 per cent don't even carry out a visual inspection of their tyres. 

The AA said that it is especially important to check the pressure of tyres before leaving home. When a car is fully loaded for driving off on holiday, the extra weight requires a higher air pressure, but many are unaware of this and put their fuel economy and handling at risk by not checking and changing tyre pressure. 

A visual check is also vital before heading anywhere. You need to know that tyres are in good health to get you safely to your destination, and a quick look can be the best way to ensure they are. If there are any cuts, bulges or other irregularities, you should look to cut the risk of blow outs and punctures and have new tyres fitted as soon as you can. 

Under the bonnet

While the majority of people admit to not carrying out tyre checks, a more worrying statistic from the AA shows that when it comes to maintenance under the bonnet. According to the company, 13 per cent of all drivers haven't got a clue of what they are looking for in and around the engine. 

Some 58 per cent said that when they are heading off, they never check the engine coolant level, leaving them in danger of having their engine overheat, while 32 per cent also went on to say that they never check their oil level. This could end disastrously if the engine should seize up as a result. 

Looking under the bonnet gives you the chance to make sure everything essential is topped up to keep the car ready to handle a long journey. This includes oil level, coolant and even windscreen washer fluid. Remember, even if it's warm, dust kicking up off a dry road can make it difficult to see. 

Simple checks can go a long way to making sure that your car is prepared for the road, and you'll be far more likely to reach your destination with a smile on your face rather than standing at the side waiting for a breakdown vehicle.

Posted by Danielle Barge