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Are you planning your summer holiday? While your year-end getaway should be a time to just climb into the car, drive off and leave all your worries behind, there is some preparation involved to ensure a smooth, safe and relaxing break. Before you head off, take some time to go through these routine checks for your vehicle.
Check the spares and repairs kit
The spare tyres should be in good condition and in situ, and these include both the one for the vehicle and a spare if you are pulling a trailer. Generally, the radiator should be flushed out and new coolant added around every two years so check that your car has been serviced regularly. Make sure you have an emergency kit for breakdowns and basic repairs, and include a set of jump leads. Emergency kits should also include water, tarpaulin in case you have to get under the car, medical kit, spare phone charger, gloves and some basic tools.
Check the tyres and wires
Make sure that all the tyres on the car are roadworthy and properly inflated, and that they have the required amount of tread. Look at any visible wiring in the vehicle to make sure it is not corroded or the outer sheath worn through. Heat in the summer can be worse on the car batteries than the winter cold because chemical reactions in the battery speed up when exposed to overheating. This overcharges a battery so make sure it is kept clean and in good condition.
Check out the lights and brights
Make sure that all lights both inside and outside the car are working (you should also have included spare bulbs in the spares kit). This means reversing lights and indicators as well as fog lamps. Replace any cracked driving mirrors and give them all a clean so you have good visibility. If you are towing a wide trailer or caravan, don’t forget to fit towing mirrors as well.
Check the use of juice
This means checking the fluid levels in the car are at the appropriate levels (as well as making sure there are no visible leaks). Check that the windscreen washer is full, and that the engine oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and coolant are topped up.
Check the brakes and shakes
Get your brakes checked out to make sure brake pads are in good condition, particularly if it has been some time since your last car service. You can usually tell if they are starting to wear, and if you are going to be away for a long stretch, it is worth ensuring that they are in tiptop condition. If you notice any slight juddering, make sure the tyres are properly balanced as well, and it goes without saying that any odd noises or shakes need to be checked out, particularly if you are pulling a heavy load.
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