Are you planning a road trip in the near future? I found out that Kwik Fit are showcasing some of the most stunning and famous roads in Europe in their new ebook. You can find out journeys down the Route 500 in Germany and the Ring of Kerry in Ireland - Europe is full of scenic routes that let you take in the views whilst you're being the wheel. But if you're driving you'll want to make sure that your car is in superb condition so I've written a mini guide which will help you avoid a stressful breakdown.
Get your car serviced
Regular car maintenance, on top of your annual MOT can help prevent car problems. I know how to check my oil, water and tyre pressure but you could also get your car checked by a professional for a little peace of mind and then you can keep on top of it yourself.
Check your car battery
If you haven't used your car in a while, you may need to recharge the battery. If you need to replace your battery after a breakdown, it may be more expensive so shop around to find one that's good value.
Check your tyres
In the UK we don't have to change tyres in the winter but, as mentioned before, I know how to check my tyre pressure and carry a mini-pump at all times. It's worth checking them every couple of weeks as a change in temperature if driving abroad can cause the pressure in the tyres to change.
Get under the bonnet
Again, it's always worth having a little crash course from someone who knows what they are doing so that you know how to check your oil and water (there are minimum and maximum levels) and ensure that you have the right mix of anti-freeze in your water.
Check your lights
They all should be clean and in full working order. Check your fog light and full beam, as well as your hazard lights. These could be crucial in a breakdown situation.
Check your brakes
Your car's ability to stop in a shorter distance can significantly decrease if the roads are wet or icy. Your brakes should be kept in a good condition - if you're unsure, get that friendly professional to give them the once-over.
Check your wiper blades
Are your wiper blades squeaking? This usually means that they are damaged and need to be replaced. Make sure your wiper blades and windscreen are clean and top up your screenwash (this needs anti-freeze in too!).
Have a breakdown kit
Heavy Duty Tow Strap
I keep all mine in a little zip-up bag in the boot of the car (it doesn't take up much room at all) along with a first aid kit
Get the right cover
Insurance for driving abroad and breakdown cover is very important, so ensure your policy is up to date and always carry your membership card and the breakdown company's phone number with you on your journey.
If you are in any doubt about your car, please seek professional advice however I hope these top tips have been useful for you. Let me know in the comments if you have any to add.
Additional information : I've recently been reviewing the tyre inflator linked above and I'm happy to recommend it, hence including it in this Quick Tips post. It can inflate a tyre from flat to 35PSI in just two minutes. It has a large digital screen, auto-stop setting and a quick dial to make accurate inflation easier. It has a LED light incorporated too for night-time breakdowns and is powered by an in-car 12V socket (previously known as "the cigarette lighter" in our house). It comes with a storage case, spare dustcaps and a set of latex gloves. Buy online here.