Seven checks to make on your car before an Easter bank holiday trip – and you could save up to £300 | The Sun
IF you're one of the millions hitting the road this Easter, you'll want to make sure your car is up to the journey to avoid costly call out fees.
The RAC is predicting that 17million leisure car journeys will be made over the Easter Bank holiday weekend.
This increase in traffic is predicted to lead to an 18% spike in average call volumes for breakdown support.
If you don't have breakdown cover, calling out a breakdown service could cost you as much as £300 if your car needs towing, according to Which?.
Experts at Green Flag are advising drivers to check their car thoroughly before starting a long journey.
Damon Jowett, director of customer, roadside and network services at Green Flag, said: “Easter may well be the first time some people are undertaking any long-distance driving since Christmas.
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"The last thing anyone wants is their Easter getaway delayed or ruined by car problems, so it’s worth getting these basic checks done before you hit the road.”
This includes making sure tyres pressures are at the required levels, and oil and water have been topped up.
Here are seven checks to make on your car before you set off for your Easter trip and potentially save yourself hundreds of pounds.
Walk around the car
It may sound simple, but just walking around the car and looking for signs of potential issues could save you a big bill.
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This could include flat tyres or lights that need replacing.
Often you can easily fix a flat tyre by replacing it with the spare in your car.
But if the flat is caused by a puncture, you could do a temporary fix with tyre sealant.
Keep a can of sealant in your car in case you need to patch up your tyre.
You can then then re-inflate it and be on your way.
Have a regular service
It's important to make sure your car is in the best possible condition by booking a regular service.
You can use specialist comparison sites to help you see how much car upkeep may cost.
A site such as bookmygarage.com lets you compare the price of MoTs and servicing at nearby garages before you make a booking online.
Check your tyres
As many as six Green Flag callouts are for tyre or wheel-related issues.
Simply being able to check your tyre pressure could help you steer clear of a costly garage visit and make tyres last longer.
Check your car’s handbook or the sticker in the door jam for the correct pressure for your tyre.
Tyres do have their own built-in tread wear indicators, but this can also be checked by using a 20p coin.
If the outer band of the coin is visible when placing the coin in the groove between the treads, it means they’ve worn too low and the tyres need replacing.
You can use the air pump at a petrol station to get it to the right pressure.
Check all fluid levels
Make sure you check if your screen wash levels before you set off.
If you drive with no washer fluid then you could receive a fine of £100.
It is also classed as an illegal offence if you are caught without any.
Underneath the bonnet of your car is a plastic container that stores fluid for your windscreen wipers.
Pull your bonnet release lever, open it up and place the prop in place to hold it in place.
The container will usually have a symbol of a windscreen on the lid.
Once you've located the washer fluid container, you should be able to see through the container to check how much water is left.
Most car manufacturers will have a minimum level indicated on the vehicle's washer containers.
It's also a good idea to carry screen wash with you just in case.
Make sure you have fuel
To make sure you arrive at your destination safely, you should plan your fuel stops in advance.
This is particularly important if you’re going on a long journey this Easter that will require you to refuel your vehicle.
If you’re driving an electric vehicle, make sure your car is fully charged before you head off.
It's also a good idea to try and locate charging points on the route so you’re fully prepared for your journey.
Keep your phone battery topped up
It's an easy one to forget, but make sure you charge your phone up a few hours before your journey in case of an emergency.
You should also consider packing a portable charger just in case you run out of juice before you arrive at your destination.
In the event of a breakdown, using an in-car phone charger without the engine running can flatten a car battery in a very short space of time.
But remember, if you're caught using your mobile phone while driving – so making a call or texting – you risk fines of up to £1,000.
Get breakdown cover
Breakdown cover is in place to ensure you’ve covered and can get help in the event of a problem with your car.
It offers peace of mind, allowing you to feel safe in the knowledge that if you break down, someone will quickly be able to get to you in order to fix your car while on the road, or take you and your car somewhere that it can be repaired.
If you don’t have breakdown cover, your only choice is to call a recovery service and pay for a tow to a local garage and costs will soon add up.
Use comparison sites to help with your search for breakdown cover.
And don’t just try one comparison website either as each one will offer different deals.
The main firms include Confused.com, Compare The Market, MoneySupermarket and Gocompare.
Meanwhile, we reveal ten thrifty motoring tips to help drivers save hundreds of pounds a year.
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