6 Essential Car Maintenance Checks for Holidaymakers

car maintenance

With summer fast approaching – and the weather experts forecasting a hot one – many of us will be consulting our road atlases and programming our sat navs in preparation for a long drive to the sun spot of our choice.

Getting ready for that long drive should be about more than planning your route and packing your bags. You should check that your car is ready for the long journey ahead too. Here are six essential maintenance checks that could save you time, money and get you to your holiday destination safe and sound:


Check #1: Check your car’s fluids

Checking the levels of oil, engine coolant and brake fluid is a simple but important step to ensure that your car is fit for the long slog ahead. If it is near the time your car is due an oil change, do it before the journey – changing the oil is a relatively straightforward process.

Check #2: Check your tyres’ air pressure and wear

Not forgetting to check the spare tyre, either. You will find the tyres’ correct air pressure in the owner’s manual. The pressure that is on the side of each tyre is its maximum capacity – never exceed this. While you are looking at the tyres, check their wear by using a penny or a tread gauge. Excessively worn tires can blow out under the strain of a long car journey.

Check #3: Check your air filter

Your car engine needs lots of clean air if it is to perform at its best on the long drive ahead – check the air filter to make sure it is clean and capable of delivering a plentiful supply of air.

Check #4: Check the windows

Make sure your windows are clean and not smudged so that you have good visibility. This is particularly important if you will be driving at night, when smudged windows can stop you seeing clearly.

Check #5: Check that others can see you

car washYou should check your lights and signals are all working. Get someone else to check from outside as you test your lights and indicators one by one. If any are not working, remember it may be a fuse rather than a bulb that has blown.

Check #6: Check that you have everything you need for emergencies

Here is a suggested checklist of emergency items:

  • Road map
  • Fully charged telephone
  • High-vis jacket
  • Warning triangle
  • Spare tyre
  • Car jack
  • Small selection of emergency tools for the car
  • Torch (check the batteries are working)

Head out on the highway

These six checks will greatly improve the way your car deals with the long road trip, and greatly reduce the risk of an accident. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a brand spanking new 7 seater SUV or a second-hand Mini – every car should be checked before setting out on that mammoth drive. Once you have made these six simple checks, you can load up the car and drive with peace of mind – so pop Cliff on the stereo and sing along: “We’re all going on a summer holiday…”