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Our 9 Top Tips for a Stress-Free Summer Holiday Road Trip

With the Covid pandemic still ongoing and the added stress of not being able to go abroad at the last minute, many of us have decided on a ‘Staycation’. Driving a long way to your holiday destination of choice may leave you feeling a little bit apprehensive, but don’t worry as we’ve compiled our 9 Top Tips to ensure you’ll have a journey that you’ll remember for all the right reasons.

  1. Replace Windscreen Wipers and top-up Windscreen Washer fluid.

If you think that because it’s summer it won’t rain, you need to remind yourself that you’re going on holiday in the UK and our weather can be very changeable. What’s predicted on many of the weather apps isn’t always reliable, so you’ll need to make sure that your windscreen wipers are working properly. If you’ve noticed that they’re not clearing your windscreen as they should be, then get them replaced before you go away. Make sure your windscreen fluid is topped up so you can keep your windscreen clear, because the glare from the sun isn’t just annoying, but it can be dangerous too.

2. Check your tyres.

Driving on worn or bald tyres is dangerous, so before you set off on any long journey, it’s worthwhile making sure that they are roadworthy. An easy way to check if they are legal is by doing the 20p test. Simply place a 20p into the tread grooves of your tyre. If the raised edge around the coin isn’t visible, then you’re tyres tread is likely to be more than 1.6mm which is the minimum legal tread. If you can’t see the outer edge of the coin, then it’s likely that you’ll need your tyre replacing. If in doubt, it’s always recommended to have your tyres checked by a professional.

You’ll also need to check that the pressure in each tyre is correct, and it’s recommended to do this when your tyres are cold. In other words, check your tyre pressure when your car hasn’t been driven for a few hours, for example in the morning before you set-off . The recommended tyre pressure for most cars is between 32 – 35 psi (pounds per square inch) but your car manual will tell you what they should be so it’s worthwhile taking a look.


3. Fill up with fuel or re-charge 

Making sure that you have enough fuel might seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised at how many vehicle recoveries we attend in the UK where the culprit is an empty tank.

Before any long car journey, make sure you fill your tank to the top, or if you’ve got an electric car, make sure you charge it up fully before you leave. It’s always worthwhile finding out where the local garages or charging points are just in case you need to stop off and recharge or refuel on your journey.


4. Test your brakes

Make sure that your brakes are in proper working order before you set off.

Before switching the engine on, test your brakes with your foot; they shouldn’t feel ‘spongy’. You can also test them by applying them firmly. To do this find a safe place first like a quiet road or street. Your vehicle should come to a sharp halt and not pull to the side. If in doubt, get your brakes checked out at your local garage. 

5. Top-up your engine oil.

Oil is essential to keep your engine running properly. So, don’t check it at your peril! Running out of oil on your journey could lead to engine failure and a nightmare breakdown situation!

Most modern cars don’t have dipsticks that allow you to check your oil levels. Instead, they rely on the computer in your car to check the level and automatically warn you if it’s low, by a flashing light on your dashboard, so keep your eyes peeled for any new warning lights appearing.

If you don’t have a car that automatically alerts you, then you’ll need to check the oil level by hand. When your engine is cool, simply pop the bonnet up, locate the dipstick, pull it out and give it a wipe and you’ll see the min and max oil levels. Pop it back into the oil tube and leave it for a few seconds before taking it out again. If the oil level is halfway between the min and max levels then you don’t need to add any oil, but if it’s below the minimum level then you need to add oil.

6. Check all lights are working.

Your headlights, brake lights, dipped lights, fog lights, and indicators are all lights that you’ll need to ensure are working properly before you set off. You can check your brake lights by reversing near a window and looking in your rear-view mirror. But, for the rest of the lights, we recommend that you ask someone to help you. Ask them to stand in front of your vehicle while you turn each light on. Sometimes it’s possible to replace faulty bulbs yourself, but usually this is a quick low-cost fix at your local garage.

7. Check the battery.

The last thing you want is to pack the car full of holiday items to find the engine won’t start because you have a flat battery! If you notice that your lights aren’t as bright as they should be, or that your car radio isn’t working like it usually does, then these can be signs that your battery is running flat.

You can check your battery by using a battery tester (multimeter). Your car battery is found under the bonnet, and you’ll need to follow the instructions on how to use the multimeter to get an accurate reading. When checking your battery, the voltage should not be less than 12.6 volts. If you don’t have a multimeter or the voltage is below 12.6 then your local garage will easily test it for you.

8. Keep spare water, food, and clothes in the car.

You should keep spare food, water, and clothes in the car any time of the year, but if you know you’re going on a long car journey, you may want to take extra items with you, because you never know what might happen. Thinking ahead and being prepared for all eventualities can save you a lot of stress and bother.

9. Keep our phone numbers handy just in case! 0117 4011511 / 07881273732

And, if you are unfortunate enough to break down on your travels then rest assured that GMP Recovery Southwest is here to help you!

Our fast, friendly, and reliable service recovers any type of vehicle (private and commercial) within a 150-mile radius of Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

We’re fully insured and will safely tow you and your passengers to any garage or location of your choice (within a 150-mile radius of Bristol). You can rely on us to never leave you stranded! Our rates are very competitive for short and long distances.