Friday, 17 August 2018

ROADTRIPPIN'

San Francisco Bridge and Bright Flowers Scenery Photo
Route 66 Road Sign

As the last bank holiday approaches before the Christmas run of them, I can imagine many of you are creating fun plans before that back to school feeling kicks in.

Some of you may be considering a road trip (fun times!) so I thought I would impart my knowledge and tips for preparing to get away in the car! I have had a fair few car mishaps and I wish someone had told me these things so hopefully you will find this useful 😊

CAR MAINTENANCE, SERVICING AND CHECKS

This seems like a really simple one but one I have been caught out by. Are you on top of your MOT and Servicing? I had a shock last week thinking my MOT was due at the end of August but nope the very next day it expired. Whoops. I knew of a couple of things that it would possibly fail on and in all honesty I wish I had got them sorted sooner and spread the cost as it was an eye watering £500 all in and whilst I absolutely haven’t been taken the mick out of by the car garage, some of the things I could have dealt with earlier.

Remember, you can take your car for it’s MOT earlier than it’s expiry date and places like Calmac MOT Northampton Centre for MOT Testing can get your car roadworthy in advance of your trip.

There are other things that don’t form part of the MOT that you should definitely be aware of before a long trip which is why it is also sensible to get your car serviced regularly! You wouldn’t want to remember that weird thing your handbrake has been doing when you are miles away from home…

Moving on nicely to;

ROADSIDE RECOVERY

I remember thinking having Green Flag or RAC Cover was a waste of money. HOW WRONG WAS I?!

I once broke down on my way home from work, luckily on a relatively main road but within traffic and before I got on to the Motorway. I went to put my car into first gear and was like 'why won’t the gear stick go in?' There was a police van behind me and they came round to see what the problem was and I could tell they were like 'oh for god’s sake what is her problem?!' They offered to try and help me with the car and the policeman then agreed something was definitely wrong, we managed to get it off the road and he commented that he thought the gear box had gone as WELL as the clutch!

I was working at a College who had a Motor Vehicle Dept and they helped me with recovery and fixing the issues but ever since then I knew I needed breakdown assistance!

There was then the time my car battery went when my car was at home. And then more recently when my car overheated and just came to an abrupt stop on the motorway. Suffice to say I cried on the phone to my insurers to find out who the roadside assistance cover was with and then cried again on the phone to the RAC man. It was absolutely terrifying and I rarely even do long trips so imagine if you were away from home and something bad happened. I just think it is an absolutely necessary expense if you drive anywhere!

TYRES

Check your tyres! Look at the tread or for any bulges or anything that looks odd. Check the Tyre Pressure and also check your spare too. This is something often overlooked and can cause such serious accidents if something was to go wrong.

Your MOT or Service should pick up any major issues but remember that something that was advised on an MOT, i.e. your tyres are borderline on tread, paired with weather factors, can increase the risks to you ten-fold.

Tyres also contribute to how fuel efficient your car is too so ensure your tyres are inflated to the advised pressures. Sometimes it is worth making the investment into new tyres just for additional peace of mind, especially if you are planning to make a trip.

TUNES

All great road trips have an even better playlist for car karaoke! Make a playlist on Spotify and get your pals or family to contribute. Even older cars can enjoy Spotify or Apple Music through the radio with a Bluetooth radio transmitter. They aren’t expensive and you can pick them up for about £15 on Amazon.

SNACKS

Keep those energy levels up! Breakfast butties if you are hitting the road early, sweets for a sugar rush and caffeine to stave off the sleepiness.

FUEL

If you think ahead you can fill up at a Petrol Station with better fuel prices, this can make a real difference if you are travelling some distance. For anyone in the Manchester area, the petrol station at Asda Walmart near the Etihad Stadium is the cheapest I have seen in the area!

I’d also advise clearing all the junk out of the boot to make your car more fuel efficient too...

What are your road trip tips?
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