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PUBLISHED - 11 May, 2011

What to check before you take your car on holiday

What to check before you take your car on holiday

motoring

These days, more and more people are choosing to drive to their summer holiday, whether travelling within the UK or abroad.


If you’re planning on a road trip, it’s a smart move to make sure your car is ready for the journey ahead – the last thing you want is a breakdown spoiling your fun. Follow this simple car safety checklist for safer driving and complete peace of mind this summer…

1. Check your tyre tread and pressure

Hotter temperatures in the summer mean hotter roads too. And that can take its toll on your tyres. Your tyre tread should be above 3mm – the depth of a pound coin. And if you’re planning on some serious mileage, you should be aiming for much more than that. The same goes for your spare wheel.

You also need to check your tyres’ pressure against the recommended amount for your make and model, not forgetting to check your spare wheel while you’re at it. And with family or friends and luggage in the car, it’s a good idea to add a little extra to allow for the extra weight– check your manufacturer handbook and make sure you reduce the pressure once you’ve unloaded.

2. Check your oil, water and coolant

Before setting off on any road trip, make sure your oil, water and coolant levels are topped up. The hotter summer weather can cause coolant levels to drop more quickly which can lead to your car over-heating, and you getting hot and bothered!

3. Check windscreen wipers and screen wash

Even on clear summer days, visibility can be a problem. All the dust and dirt kicked up by other vehicles soon mounts up. So it’s vital your windscreen wash is full. You might want to consider using a screenwash additive to help clear the film of dirt and dead insects that can build up on long motorway journeys. Also make sure your wipers (front and rear) are in good working order – so when the inevitable summer rain arrives you’ll be ready.

4. Check your air con system

On long, hot journeys the last thing you want is to discover your air con isn’t working properly. So give it a check before you set off – making sure it’s blowing cool air at the coldest setting from all of the vents in the car.

5. Check you have breakdown cover in place

Does your car insurance policy include breakdown cover? If you don’t know, it’s a good idea to find out. That way, if the worst does happen, you’ll be back on the road before long. You can get fast and reliable breakdown cover from The Co-operative from just £24.99 per year, with single trip European cover from as little as £15.50. Plus our members can earn up to 200 membership points on annual breakdown cover!

6. Check the kids have been to the loo!

It’s a time-honoured tradition in every family. No sooner have you set off on a journey than the little ones need ‘to go’. Squirming kids and a hot car is not a good combination. So ask the essential question before you set off! On the flip side, make sure you have in-car refreshments to hand too. There’s nothing worse than being hot and thirsty with no service station nearby. And be sure to pack a few essentials like wet wipes, tissues and a basic first aid kit, just in case.

7. Check you have documents for foreign driving

Thinking of heading off on the ferry to the continent? Or perhaps you’re planning on hiring a car when you’re abroad? Either way, you’ll need to make sure you have all of the right paperwork with you – including full licence (card and counterfoil), your insurance policy document and certificate, plus your car registration documents if driving your own car.

It’s also compulsory to carry a warning triangle with you in many EU countries in case of an accident or breakdown, so check the requirements before you go. And even if you have breakdown cover in place, double check to see if it covers you in Europe as well as in the United Kingdom.

The Co-operative Motor Group offers Seasonal Health checks for any make or model of car for only £19.99, and with 12 months RAC breakdown cover included you can be sure you stay safe on the road wherever you go.

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