As the summer holidays are well under way you might be preparing to travel in the car on a long journey. Perhaps you’re holidaying in the UK or maybe you’re spending some time at the grandparents or visiting other family. We have already made the three plus hour car journey up north to my parents for my dad’s birthday. I’ve written before about how I entertain my toddler in the car on long journeys but this time I’m sharing how to make sure your car is safe if you’ll be travelling with children this summer.
Before I met Matt, I totally neglected my car tyres. I’d never even pumped them up before. (Shocking, I know!) But now we always check our tyre pressure before we set off on a long journey. If you don’t look after your tyres there’s a chance you could have a blow out, and frankly I can’t think of anything worse when you’re on a long journey, fast roads and heaven forbid, with your children in the car. Worn out tyres are also very dangerous because they don’t have a good road grip (something I’m slowly starting to recognise now before it’s time to change my tyres.) Plus, as Matt (the accountant) always says, bad tyres can be inefficient and actually make you use up more fuel! And sticking with finances, if you get caught out with the tread depth over the minimal allowance you can get a huge fine. It’s really worth making sure you’re checking your tyres. It doesn’t take too long, and if you need to buy new tyres there are plenty of places to buy tyres such as DAT tyres in Hertfordshire which stocks many brands in various price bands. You can even buy tyres online too.
It’s always a good idea to check your water levels for your windscreen washers too. Many modern cars now alert you when the levels are low which is really handy! Don’t ignore them! If your car doesn’t do this get into the habit of checking it regularly. Again it’s worth checking and topping up your water levels before a long journey. Nothing worse than a smear on your screen or glaring sunshine and not being able to clean your screen.
Like water, you can easily check your oil levels. Don’t be scared of this! It’s just a stick you pull out and check where the oil level is. If it’s not where it should be you can just fill up the oil tank with oil that can be bought from places like Halfords or your local petrol station.
Make sure you’ve filled up before you set off and make sure it’s with the right fuel! I *may* have once, accidentally put petrol in a diesel car. Just don’t do it! Pay attention when filing up, because if you don’t it can really ruin your car and cost you to get it sorted!
No I’m not saying you need to service your car before every long trip, but do make sure you get your car serviced regularly. Don’t let it get forgotten about. If you can’t remember the last time you had your car serviced it’s probably best to find a reputable local garage and get your car checked out thoroughly.
Any car journey is ruined if your car breaks down, especially if you’re travelling with children. It’s frustrating and stressful. I also have breakdown assistance through my car insurance. It’s something I always take out, even if I hope I’ll never need it!
These are my basic car safety tips for checking your car before you set off on a long journey. I’m not a car safety expert. I’ll admit it, I still don’t know how to change a tyre! But there are things everyone can do easily to keep your family safe on the road. Is there anything else you do to prep your car before setting off for a long journey? Let me know in the comments below.