Car prepared for long journey parked by motorway.

How to make sure your car is road-ready ahead of the summer holidays

With many of us beginning to use our cars more after months of restrictions, it may be a good idea to refamiliarise ourselves with our cars’ maintenance needs. This article from PA Motoring Services highlights some basic checks we should all do before hitting the road.

With foreign travel requiring a lot of planning and plenty of uncertainty around potential quarantines upon returning to the UK, the staycation is expected to prove hugely popular with families this summer.

However, with many people not having driven their cars much this year because of pandemic restrictions, one road safety charity has warned motorists to give their car a once over before heading off on a long journey.

GEM Motoring Assist chief executive Neil Worth said: “Nobody wants to start a holiday stranded at the roadside for hours. That’s why we are encouraging drivers to get some basic maintenance checks done on their car before setting off for a well-deserved summer break.

“Of course, we cannot predict when our car is going to malfunction, but by taking care of a few basic things we will be minimising the chance of something going wrong. That’s good news for everyone who simply wants a trouble-free road journey.”

Here are some basic checks you should do before hitting the road…


The first thing to check is whether the tread depth is above the legal amount. The minimum is 1.6mm and the easiest way to check is to get a 20p and place it inside the tread. If the outer band is at all visible, your tyres could have illegal tread. You can also buy tyre tread depth checkers from most car parts stores.

Finally, check the pressure is correct in each tyre and increase it for heavy loads if required.

Tyres and your Motability Scheme car

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.

More information on tyre repair and replacement included with the Motability Scheme


When travelling longer distances, always set off with a full tank of fuel or a full battery if driving an electric vehicle. This helps to reduce any stress associated with finding a petrol station – the last thing you want is to run out of fuel while stuck in a traffic jam.


Battery failures are a year-round problem for motorists, and on a hot day a weak battery could be drained in stop-start traffic with the air conditioning and passengers’ phones charging.

If you’re concerned about your battery health, find a local garage and ask them to check it for you.


Fluids are one aspect that many motorists forget about checking, but it can be an incredibly simple way of avoiding a breakdown. Check the user manual to find out what levels fluids such as the oil and coolant need to be at and top up if necessary.

While you have the bonnet up, it’s worth also checking the windscreen washer fluid levels.


Although a failed light won’t cause you to break down, it can be dangerous to you and those around you. It only takes a moment to check, so turn on all your lights and indicators and quickly walk around the car to see if they’re on. You can ask a friend to check your brake lights, or park close to a wall and make sure pressing the brake illuminates the wall.


This article was written by Darren Cassey and PA Motoring Reporter from PA Motoring Service and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

How the Motability Scheme can help

The Motability Scheme enables you to use your qualifying mobility allowance to lease a car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, mobility scooter or powered wheelchair. Being a customer also means you benefit from all aspects of our worry-free package, including servicing and repairs, car insurance, breakdown assistance and more. Find out more about the benefits of joining the Scheme.

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