The Motor Ombudsman, the automotive dispute resolution provider, has introduced a handy six-point checklist to assist consumers with the preparation of their vehicle and travel ahead of the Easter bank holiday getaway, a time when millions of motorists traditionally take to the road. Having a car that is roadworthy, and a journey which is well planned in advance, will help avoid any unforeseen delays during this year’s first long weekend.
- Every fluid and lubricant is critical to components being able to operate efficiently, such as the brakes, engine and air conditioning, and all should be topped up to vehicle manufacturer-advised levels. Equally important are the lights. Despite the clocks going forward next week, and days getting longer, bulbs in the front headlights, running lights and rear lamps should be operating at their full potential.
- Always make sure that all documentation, including breakdown and insurance documents, are up to date and that you have the appropriate overseas cover which may require the payment of an additional premium. Also, have to hand a valid passport for border checks, loose change for any tolls, as well as your breakdown policy and helpline numbers in case of emergency.
- Seek out the best route to help avoid the main congestion hotspots, and with apps and the internet now readily available, this makes it a lot easier to plan ahead. Moreover, when on the road, ensure that the live traffic function is activated both on your satellite navigation and infotainment systems, so that you can take the best alternative route in the event of any hold-ups. In addition, check where the petrol stations and rest stops are, as a break from the wheel every couple of hours is advised for staying alert.
- Tyres are one of the most important safety features on a car, and are the only part of a vehicle in contact with the tarmac. Keeping every tyre (including the spare) in good condition and inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressures is absolutely vital. Furthermore, inserting a 20p piece into the tread of the rubber is a quick and easy test to determine whether the depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm. If the outer band of the coin cannot be seen when it’s inserted, then the tread is sufficient.
- Electric and plug-in hybrid cars are fast gaining popularity, and therefore, if you drive one of these models, it’s important that you are aware of the location of battery charging points along your route, whether in the UK or on the continent. Research how many miles you are planning to cover, what the distance is between charging stations, and if your accommodation has points available so that you can make sure your car has sufficient range for your trips.
- Remember to look up what equipment you need to carry by law if you are heading across the English Channel, as this varies by country. A GB sticker on the rear of the car is essential, unless the registration plate displays the GB Euro-symbol. It’s also good practice when going abroad to have a warning triangle, high visibility reflective jackets and headlamp beam converters in the boot as a minimum, alongside a torch, first-aid kit and blanket.
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, said: “One of the keys to having a stress-free vacation is having a car which is roadworthy and spending the time doing some thorough research and planning prior to setting off. The six essential checks which we have highlighted can easily often be overlooked as people get caught up in the excitement of going on holiday, but ultimately it pays off in the long run to be fully prepared.”
Motorists can find their local Motor Ombudsman-accredited garage to get their car fit for Easter and beyond at www.TheMotorOmbudsman.org/garage-finder