From valleys to mountains, cities to national parks; with so many sights to see and places to visit, it’s no wonder that ‘staycationing’ is as popular as ever in the UK. The nation’s favourite way to get to the UK’s plethora of tourist attractions is using their own car, so making sure your vehicle is fit and ready for the journey is essential, especially if you plan to cover some distance. In this guide, our scheme partner Kwik Fit share some tips and advice to get you to your destination safely and stress free.
Checks to do before you travel
Before setting off, there are a number of simple vehicle maintenance checks you can do yourself to prevent any mishaps along the way. Spending a few minutes before you leave to check these items could save you hours later on if you breakdown and need to await rescue.
Your tyres are one of the most important parts of your car since they are the only part of the vehicle that makes contact with the road.
Using the Kwik Fit mobile service
The service is available by appointment in advance only and is not able to repair punctures. To organise an appointment for one of Kwik Fit’s 220 mobile fitting units to replace tyres at your home at no extra cost, please call 0330 123 1533 . To make sure they bring the right tyres for your car, you’ll need to have your car registration and tyre size to hand when you arrange your appointment.
As a result, it’s important to make sure they are in good condition. Firstly, make sure the tyre pressure is correct. Tyres naturally lose air over time so checking the pressure each month is recommended.
You can find your recommended tyre pressure in your vehicle handbook or sometimes on the sill of the driver’s door. If you don’t have a tyre pressure gauge you can pay a visit to most garage forecourts for air or pop in to your local Kwik Fit centre who will check your pressures for free.
Next, check the tread. This is the surface of the tyre with grooves and channels that helps grip the road. Legally, tyres need to be replaced when the tread depth falls to 1.6mm on 75% of the contact surface. However Kwik Fit will replace tyres on Motability Scheme cars when the depth falls to 2.0mm. Also look for irregular wear such as bald spots on the tread or damage to the tyre sidewall. If you find the tread is getting low or the tyre shows signs of damage, don’t forget that as a Motability Scheme customer, replacement tyres from Kwik Fit are included in your lease package. Simply call 0330 123 1533 to make an appointment or you can book online.
Another important item to check before a long journey is your fluid levels. Your coolant, oil and screenwash should all be checked before you travel and each plays an important role in ensuring your vehicle runs smoothly. Coolant protects your engine from overheating, particularly on hot days when you could be sat in traffic for long periods of time. Screenwash of course is used to clean your windscreen when it becomes mucky and your view of the road could be impaired by dirt, grease and bugs if your screenwash runs out. Both coolant and screenwash can be found in bottles under the bonnet of the car. Most come with minimum and maximum levels to help you to see if fluid levels are low.
Oil is perhaps the most important fluid and it helps to lubricate the moving parts of your engine. To check your oil level, locate the dipstick under the bonnet. Pull it out, give it a wipe down and put it back in again. Pull it out once more and check to make sure the oil level is between the minimum and maximum markers on the dipstick. Remember, if you need help checking any of your fluid levels or need a top up, your local Kwik Fit centre can provide assistance.
This one may seem obvious but it’s a good idea to fill up the fuel tank before you set off, especially if you are heading for remote or rural areas where you may be a long way from the nearest petrol station. Also, did you know that many experts recommended that you keep a quarter tank of fuel in your car at all times? This isn’t just a precaution in case you get caught short; allowing your car’s fuel tank to run low means the sediment at the bottom of your tank can get sucked into the fuel system and clog the fuel filter, pump and injectors. This can have a negative effect on your fuel economy, meaning you get fewer miles from each tank of fuel.
Regular servicing is important to ensure your car continues to run smoothly and to spot any issues before they become serious. Servicing is also included as part of your worry-free lease package and is due at set times or when your car has been driven a certain number of miles. So, if you are due a service, its best to get this done before embarking on a long trip. The benefit of a service is that a whole host of checks are carried out on the vehicle to make sure it is safe. From the battery to the brakes, it even includes an oil change and a top up of all fluids where required.
What to do if you break down?
Hopefully, with a bit of forward planning you will reach your destination without incident. But if you do suffer a breakdown, don’t worry, your Motability Scheme car includes breakdown assistance. Call RAC Motability Assist on 0800 73 111 73. The service aims to get someone out to you within 45 minutes.