As the great singer-songwriter, Chris Rea said in his classic hit, millions of people this year will be driving home for Christmas.
Many motorists can travel in excess of 7 hours when making that epic drive home. If you are preparing on a road trip across the country to celebrate the festive season with friends and loved ones you obviously must be certain your vehicle is ready and up to the job. There are various checks you can make to reduce the chances of your car breaking down, ensuring you have a safe trip.
It is recommended you carry out your car checks seven days before departure. You should give your radiator a once over; Most new radiators are fitted with overflow bottles with minimum and maximum water levels, while, in older models, you can still fill it through the radiator cap. Drivers should top it up with half water and half antifreeze to stop your radiator from freezing.
Motorists must monitor the condition of their tyres before heading off on a trip. Legally, the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the tyre all the way round. If your tyre is less than the minimum required, then it could result in a fine and points on your license. If your tyres show the signs of becoming bald, they can become dangerous, unsafe and against the law.
So, you should watch your tyre pressure. If they are incorrect, it could increase the wear and tear and use up more fuel. It may seem fundamental, but drivers should make sure they have a working spare tyre, which is not flat or damaged. Make sure there’s no problem with their lights by examining them individually, from the fog lights, the full beams, the brake lights, and the indicators. You must also inspect the oil, as the engine may overheat and self-destruct especially when sitting in queues of traffic for hours. You should examine the engine with a dipstick while it is cold and level. Be careful not to refill and allow the oil enough time to run down to the sump before you check the level again.
Of course, for many, the most important things to check prior to leaving on a car journey in winter is the weather report and the conditions. It may seem obvious, but when driving home for Christmas, you should make sure if it is going to snow or if the roads are going to be icy. You don’t want to get snowed in or stuck, and you should watch out for drops in temperature. The last thing you want is for your car to freeze and break down on the side of a wintery road.
However, if you have taken the necessary steps prior to setting off, you could avoid any such holiday hassle and have a safe and happy Christmas at home with the loved ones. Ho Ho Ho.