The summer holidays are very nearly here – just five weeks away for us. Not only am I looking forward to not having to contend with the dreaded school run each morning, but we have a few road trips planned. We’ll be off to Center Parcs for the very first time and we are also hoping to camp for a few days in Devon. We’ve just recently purchased a Mazda Bongo campervan and can’t wait to try it out! It has become Ben’s mode of transport so he’s been driving it to work each day and we also took it out at the weekend to Purton Ships Graveyard not far from us in Gloucestershire. The kids absolutely love it and we all can’t wait to go camping and spend the night to really test it out. I’m hoping we’ll have some spontaneous last minute camping trips too over the weekends.
Before we jet off on these road trips it’s so important for us to so a few safety checks on our vehicle. Not only are these important for our own wellbeing, but for our children’s too. It’s more important than ever to check over your car when you are travelling with children and their safety is in your hands.
Here are five important things to check on your car before a road trip:
Turn your car on, leave the handbrake on, and test all the lights. Turn each one on and walk around the car to check they work. Or get a second person to confirm for you whilst you switch them all on and off. Make sure none of the lights are fading and the casing is clean.
Check the pressure of the tyres using a simple at home tester which can be found pretty cheap online. We have one that plugs into the car and pumps the tyres to the pressure we specify. To find the correct pressure for your car and tyres just do a quick search online for ‘car tyre pressure’. Enter your registration and it will tell you the correct pressure for the back and front tyres. There are also air machines at fuel stations.
Look for objects in the tyres such as nails. Once we found a nail in my husband’s tyre and it was slowly going down. Luckily we found it when stationary.
Check the depth of the tread to see if it’s legal. 1.6mm is the minmum legal depth, but this can still be too low in wet conditions, so consider changing your tyres once they get below 3mm. If your tyres need replacing then you’ll need to find an autocentre to book them in to, such as at Stirling fife autocentre.
Oil, water, power steering and wiper wash. Before going anywhere check that all these levels are healthy and you’re not going to run out. You don’t want to be stuck on a dirty or sandy road behind a truck only to realise your windscreen wash has ran dry.
Turn on your wiper blades and spray to check they are clearing the water efficiently. If you’re left with smears and limited visibility then first try to clean the blades as they could be dirty. If this doesn’t do the trick then they are probably worn out and you need to replace them. If bad weather hits you need to be able to see clearly on the roads and streaked lines that take time to clear, or don’t clear, will make your journey dangerous. Even on a dry day you may need them to work effectively to clear falling debris from trees, bugs and bird poo.
Check the air con
It’s not the end of the world, but if you’re driving through a heatwave in the UK and you’re stuck in the car for hours with children and even pets, it can be a lifesaver. Turn your air con on and check it’s blowing cool air. If it’s warm then book it in for an air conditioning service where they’ll check it works properly and recharge if needed.
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