Five Simple Checks to Make Before Heading on a Staycation
Planning a staycation? Here are five simple checks drivers should make before heading for the sunshine.
With passport delays and ongoing strikes at airports meaning limited choices to foreign destinations, many sun-seekers are choosing to embark on a summer staycation instead.
With these road users looking to explore the best that the UK has to offer, here are some top tips for drivers to ensure their cars are as ready for a holiday as they are.
David Smith, Aftersales Manager from Lloyd Motors Carlisle on Chandler Way, said: “For any staycation, regardless of the distance, your car is often the most overlooked but important element you need to prepare.
“Before beginning any journey, you must always check your car’s condition and ensure it is packed with the essentials.
Check the condition of your car
“It’s a good idea to regularly check your car, no matter how far you may be travelling. It’s important that your car has plenty of fuel, its oil and coolant are topped up, its tyres are correctly inflated and that the electrics are all working properly. If your car is a plug-in hybrid or fully electric, make sure it is sufficiently charged for your journey.
“If your car has them, ensure you pack the jack and locking wheel nut key, should something happen to one of your car’s tyres. Without the locking wheel nut key to hand, you won’t be able to remove the wheel – so store it somewhere safe!
“Another important check to consider is testing your car’s lights and replacing any bulbs that are no longer fit for purpose, particularly if you know you’re going to be travelling late at night or early in the morning.
Pack the essentials
“If you’re visiting a destination that is unfamiliar to you, make sure you have a sat-nav system and a map to hand. Sat-navs can be a saviour in unexplored areas, as well as informing you of the speed limit and any nearby service stations. However, it’s a good idea to take a map, too, should your sat-nav fail or you forget to pack the charger.
“Also make sure to take your driving licence, car insurance documents and the contact details for any breakdown services you’re eligible for. If a breakdown does occur, having a set of jump leads in your boot may offer a quick solution if your car’s battery has died.
Test the battery
“Summer heat can be even tougher on car batteries than a winter frost. Higher temperatures can drive up the heat under the bonnet, which can accelerate the onset of battery failure. Batteries contain a liquid mixture of acid and water, so if a car becomes too hot, the liquid can evaporate quicker, resulting in a flat battery.
“Car batteries typically last between three and five years, so it’s important to be proactive about testing your battery if your car is more than a few years old, especially if we’re experiencing a heatwave and it has had to work much harder over a prolonged period of time.
Avoid a sunburnt car
“As with our own skin, it’s important that you protect your car’s paintwork from becoming damaged by the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can oxidise and fade paint, leaving your car looking faded and worn out before its time.
“To ensure your car maintains its shiny exterior, wash your car frequently and finish by applying a high-quality wax. Wax is like your car’s sunscreen, limiting the impact of UV rays and helping to prevent any grit and dirt from sticking to your car’s paintwork and causing pitting. Although your car may not be aiming for a holiday tan, it should arrive back home protected even after spending time in the sun.
Check the air-conditioning
“The journey to your destination should be a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience. There is nothing worse than making a lengthy car journey in uncomfortable conditions – particularly if the sun is shining.
“Always check your car’s air-conditioning system before any hot weather arrives or you begin your journey. With the engine running, listen out for any knocking or rumbling sounds, because these can be a tell-tale sign of faulty air-conditioning. If the air being blown out is lukewarm or barely cold, get the air-con system checked.”