Side Street Style: 6 ways to prepare your car for a family road trip

Side Street Style

Family travel and lifestyle blog

30/04/2019

6 ways to prepare your car for a family road trip




I love a good road trip! Having grown up in South Africa where the nearest city was a 7hr drive away you get used to long distance trips and besides driving in South African I have also done the length of the UK from the West Coast of Scotland to Cornwall as well as across France and Italy and I've learnt a few things along the way. I've had the experience of breaking down more than once with the kids in tow and navigating country roads, getting lost, taking the car on ferries and the Eurostar and even with all the ups and downs we have always enjoyed the journey because it's all apart of the adventure that is travel.

It's really important to have your car in tip-top shape before heading out on a road trip not only to reduce stress but also save you money. If your car breaks down while on a road trip it can end up costing you a whole lot more especially if you need to get it towed.

1. Make sure your MOT is up to date

Not only is having a valid MOT essential it's also the first point in car maintenance and is the Number 1 thing you need to check before going away. If you are due an MOT then make sure you visit a fully licensed and VOSA approved MOT testing centre such as Calmac Tyres and do your research beforehand and look for real person reviews. In general, the test costs around £40 and if your car is in very good condition it should hopefully pass first time without issues. For those who don't know an MOT checks lights, steering and suspension, windscreen and wipers, seatbelts, fuel systems, bodywork, brakes, wheels and tyres. An MOT mainly focuses on the safety and emissions which will give you peace of mind when driving long distances.

2. Book a service

If your MOT is already up to date then it would be worthwhile booking your car in for a service, it's doesn't necessarily need to be a full service especially if you don't have any immediate concerns so opting for at least a 49 point interim service could help put your mind at rest. An interim service still includes an oil and filter change, top-ups of essential fluids as well as break, steering and suspension checks. The main reasons for a service are to maintain a safer drive, reduce risks of future breakdowns and maintain it's value.



3. Take out breakdown cover

Even with all the preparation and checks things can still go wrong and you will pay a high premium to join a breakdown company at the side of the road or call out for a tow. The best thing you can do is take out breakdown cover before setting off and I can personally recommend this as we broke down on the way to Cornwall two years ago and luckily we were with the AA, yes we had to wait nearly two hours because it was peak summer time but we managed to get our car taken to a local garage and a car hire sorted for us so we could continue on our holiday.  Also money saving tip - do compare breakdown cover as they vary a lot in price, I recommend using Money supermarket for cover comparisons.

4. Pack an emergency kit

Having had my car not start more than once because of a rundown battery I now carry jump leads with me at all times as it's a simple issue that can be sorted out without having to call out breakdown services. I have learnt that it's really important to pack certain essentials in case of an emergency and not just jump leads but also a flashlight, water bottles, reflectors, first aid kit, a few non-perishable snacks such as breakfast bars (in case you breakdown and have to wait a long time). If your travelling with kids it may also be useful to pack toilet roll, hand sanitizer and baby wipes.


5. Pack a Map and plan a route in case your GPS fails.

It can be really easy to just rely on technology but what if that technology fails? Or you run out of battery? When embarking on a road trip it's really important to pack a map just in case, they usually don't cost more than a few pounds to get a recent road map of the UK and it can be a real lifesaver. Also planning a route beforehand can be really useful, including potential stops especially if your travelling with children. I always recommend checking our National Trust properties which can often be found 20mins from a motorway for a good place to run around and eat lunch as children will need more stops than adults.




6. Have copies of essential documents

If your travelling long distance in the UK it's worth having your Drivers license on your at all times as well as breakdown cover documentation and your insurance details. You never know when you made need these things and should you breakdown or have an accident somewhere without reception you won't be able to access your emails to get the details.

Please bear in mind that these tips are mainly for travelling in the UK, if you are planning to take your car to the European continent then there are additional things you need to do, such as carrying a breathalyser, GB sticker and warning triangle to name a few as well as carrying some additional documentation. There is a really good list here of everything you need.

Don't be put off hitting the road this summer, just think of all the amazing memories you can make! But with everything in life preparation is key and can really help prevent any issues and put your mind at rest that your car is in the best shape before you set off.



Collaborative post 

10 comments:

  1. Everyone loves it whenever people come together and share thoughts.
    Great site, continue the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think having an emergency kit is so important and I bet it's something a lot of people forget about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes having an emergency kit is sooo important

      Laura x

      Delete
  3. We learned the hard way how important breakdown cover was! Not our finest hour!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh No!! It's so expensive to take out on the side of the road as well

      Laura x

      Delete
  4. I love your tip about looking for National Trust properties. It is great to be able to have a stroll and tea and cake. We look for garden centres with a cafe as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes we always stop at a National Trusts as there are quite a few new the motorways and it breaks up the trip

      Laura x

      Delete
  5. I learned my lesson about not having adequate breakdown cover a few years ago.......I make sure I have decent one now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's soooo important as anyone can breakdown and it really saves money taking out breakdown cover before setting off

      Laura x

      Delete
  6. Nice post. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed!

    Very useful info specifically the last part :) I care for such info a lot.
    I was looking for this certain info for a very long time.

    Thank you and good luck.

    ReplyDelete

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