If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a list a mile long of visits to make with your family this Christmas holiday period. Both my parents and Jack’s parents are divorced and have remarried, making 4 sets of parents we have to fit in for visits, as well as our siblings, step-siblings, grandparents and a whole host of family friends. It will be absolute chaos, and require military-style planning to ensure we fit everyone in, but it’s the kind of chaos and organisational challenge I love!
The one thing Jack and I are going to be heavily reliant on this Christmas (besides our credit cards, no doubt!) is our car. Our loved ones are dotted all over the UK and, especially as the kids are with us, it’s vital that we are as certain as we can be that our car will get us from A to B (and, C, D, E, F etc!) on our trips.
I know as well that there are probably thousands of other parents who will be making similar trips all over the country in a few weeks’ time, so I’ve put together this article with a few tips on how to ensure your car is as safe as possible during this holiday period.
- Check your car’s oil level
Admittedly, the first time I ever tried to put oil in my car, I was all smug that I’d managed it by myself until I realised I’d put it into the water tank. Cue sobbing phone call to my dad for advice (I was 19), followed by a humiliating phone call to the local garage.
Nowadays I’m a little more proficient at checking my car’s oil levels and topping it up when necessary, and this is very important as having a required amount of oil is essential for ensuring your engine runs smoothly; too little oil and your engine will seize up.
- Check the tread on your tyres and replace them if necessary
This is massively important during the cold, wet, icy winter months because road surfaces can be incredibly slippery and unsafe, so you need to ensure your tyres have enough tread to be able to grip sufficiently. Jack recently replaced the tyres on our car to be doubly sure they were road worthy considering all the journeys we will be making next month. He got a great deal on all 4 tyres from Point S tyres in Manchester, as we’d highly recommend them if you are looking to replace your tyres quickly, easily and at a great price; you can log on to the Point S website to see which branch is nearest to you.
- Check the pressure of your car’s tyres
Your car manual should indicate what pressure your tyres should be at, and you should check this before you make any long journeys. Not only does having tyres set at the wrong pressure make your car less fuel efficient and therefore cost you money, it is also, most importantly, unsafe, as your car won’t handle as well as it should do.
- Keep some de-icer and a scraper stored in your car
With the Great British weather, you never know how quickly the temperature can drop, so keep de-icer and a scraper handy in your car in case you’ve parked up somewhere on a visit or at a service station and come out to find your car looking like an extra in Disney’s Frozen.
- Research and purchase good breakdown cover (and keep the relevant emergency phone numbers in your car’s dashboard!)
The last thing anyone wants on a cold, rainy, dark winter’s day is to breakdown on the side of a motorway without any breakdown cover. Especially over Christmas, when everyone you know will be at a party of family event, so your options for getting a cheap tow will be minimal or laced with guilt. If you’ve got cover already, double-check what you’re entitled to. Some policies will offer to tow you to your destination, regardless of the distance, while others will only deliver you to the nearest garage. Some will come out to take a look at your car if it’s on your drive and won’t start, while others offer coverage for you as a person, whatever car you’re in, be it a friend or family member’s (very useful if you’re lucky enough to have a designated driver to get you home after a Christmas party or night out!). Basically, it pays to do you research and get as much coverage as you can, just to make sure you’re properly sorted for the Christmas period!
These tips come courtesy of carhiregriffith.net.au, if you’re planning a road trip starting in Australia this year, why not start in Griffith with one of their rentals?