top 10 pre-holiday car checks

Holidays are coming, is your car ready?

Are you planning a staycation this year, or maybe taking your car with you overseas. Regardless of whether it’s the UK, France or somewhere else if you’re planning a long drive this summer, make sure you’ve completed your pre-holiday car checks first. Otherwise, you will be adding roadside recovery to your list of holiday excursions!

What pre-holiday car checks do you need?

  • 1. Check your oil

    Oil checks are simple, pop the bonnet and find your oil dipstick. Your dipstick is easy to spot, it’s the ring pull (usually yellow or orange) coming out of the engine. Next, make sure the oil level is between the two min and max markers at the end.If it’s below the min marker, then you need to top the oil up. However, be certain to use the correct oil, you can find in your vehicle’s handbook. Oil is the mechanical-blood of your car, without it your engine would cease resulting in not just a breakdown but also a possible a hefty repair bill for replacement parts. If you’re still not sure then check your vehicle’s handbook, or pop in and see us for a free check.

  • 2. Top up your screenwash

    While you have your bonnet open, check your water levels for your screen wash. This one is easy to find as it’s a circular cap with a picture of your windscreen. If in doubt, pop some water in until it’s full. And, even if it is summer, we’d still advise some antifreeze or screenwash mix, as it helps cut through grime and squished insects. Better yet, you’re protected just in case you drive through a freak blizzard.

  • 3. Stay coolant

    There are 2 parts to your coolant check, one is the coolant fluid, and the other is your coolant fan. To check the fluid, refer to your handbook to locate your coolant filler cap under your bonnet. Then make sure the liquid is between the min/max marks on the expansion tank. If it needs topping up then make sure your engine has cooled down otherwise you could burn yourself. Then use the right antifreeze to top it up. If you’re uncertain, ask us, and we can do this for you.

    When it comes to your coolant fan, you have to check this while driving: (1) Set your car heater to cold. (2) Drive until your engine reaches average temperature. (3) Stop and let the car cool for 3-5 minutes. (4) Watch your temperature gauge; this should cool automatically.

    If your car doesn’t seem to be cooling, then pop in and see us and be safe.

  • 4. Inspect your lights

    This seems obvious, but park up and pop your lights on. Then walk around the car to check them all. Make sure you inspect your standard lights, full beam, hazards and indicators. In addition to this, check your brake lights by getting someone to take a look while you press the pedal. Furthermore, don’t forget the light above your numberplate.

    Also, make sure you’ve checked the rules if you are travelling abroad. For instance, it’s compulsory to carry spare bulbs if you’re going through France and some other European countries.

  • 5. Don’t forget your wheel key

    If you suffer a puncture on your trip and forget your wheel nut key, then you will be in trouble. Not only will you be unable to remove the tyre, but neither will a recovery vehicle. Don’t delay your trip, make sure you take your wheel nut key and keep it safe.

  • 6. Tyres under pressure?

    Did you know that underinflated tyres are a major cause of blowouts and underinflated tyres can affect your braking distances? This is why you must check your tyre pressure. Ideally, you should do this each month but it is absolutely vital before a long journey. Check your vehicle’s dashboard or handbook for the right pressures or pop in and see us and make sure it’s done right.

  • 7. Tyre tread time

    Did you know that you can test your tyre tread is safe and above the legal requirement of 1.66mm by merely using a 20p piece? Place the 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. Then, when you insert it if you can’t see the outer band of the coin, you know your tread is legal. But, if you can see the outer raised border of the coin, then your tyres may be illegal, so in this case, you should pop to see our tyre specialists and get them checked immediately.

    Do remember that you need to check at least three locations around each tyre, as you will always find the outer edges get more worn than the inside of the casing.

  • 8. Are your brakes safe?

    We all know how vital our brakes are so if you feel anything about your brakes is off you need to get them checked by a professional garage, like us,  asap. However, you can check your brake fluid and brake pads at home without a professional To learn more about the teller signs that your brakes need changing check out our brakes blog here.

  • 9. Try out your air con

    The last thing you want in the summer is a steaming hot car. Combine this with grumpy, bored kids and you have a road trip disaster! If you haven’t used your air conditioning for a while, test it before you go as it’s not unusual for the air con system to develop a fault. Is it blowing warm air? Does it give out a bad smell? Is there a rattle? All air-con units need a recharge after time, and some also need repair. We offer quick, low-cost air conditioning servicing, repairs and recharges so pop in and see us and we will take a look.

  • 10. Fill up on fuel

    Our final check, or a bit of advice really, is to fill up your fuel tank the day before. When your journey starts, your holiday begins so you don’t want any delays waiting around in busy, holiday season petrol stations. Also, this way you will save money as motorway fuel stations will often charge a higher price per litre than your local supermarket petrol station. Be prepared and start your holiday relaxed; fill up before your trip!

Need help? We do FREE car checks in Wakefield!

So, now you have your top 10 checks, go and do some inspecting! However, if you want to make sure everything is safe then why not call us or pop in? Being a specialist service garage, we can quickly inspect your vehicle and let you know if anything needs sorting before your trip! Plus, we don’t charge to take a look so a professional second opinion won’t cost you anything other than a few moments of your time.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

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