From the peace and tranquility of the Lake District and the Cairngorms, to the hustle and bustle of major metropolitan destinations such as Edinburgh and London, the mainland offers holidaymakers so much more than one could ever imagine. For this reason, many Brits are choosing to stay at home, indulging in the vast cultural experiences on offer indigenously, rather than boarding a plane.
One of the main beauties of what is on offer, is the fact it can all be accessed in a matter of hours. Pack up your car on a Friday afternoon after you finish work, and set off — but, before doing so, tap into this quick guide on preparing your car for the journey.
Check your levels
Prior to take off on a flight, you are comforted by the fact the crew have carried out meticulous checks in regard to the aircraft — so, why wouldn’t you do the same with the car before heading off on a lengthy journey? Grab a bit of kitchen roll, pull out your engine’s dip stick, wipe away the oil, and re-dip it to check your levels. If you’re running low, top it up. Most of us will ever only venture under the bonnet as soon as something goes wrong e.g. a Vesuvius-like cloud bellowing from the engine. Despite an exact timescale of how often you should check your oil not existing, experts suggest if you’re a regular driver, you should check it at least once a month. Let your oil run too low, or use the wrong one, and you could be looking at serious damage to your car’s components. Your battery should also be checked from time to time. It may be wise to invest in a car battery charger should the worst happen!
Not only do your tyres support the entire load of the vehicle, they also provide your vehicle with friction necessary for braking and cornering. Automotive testing has found that an underinflated tyre can increase your fuel consumption by around five percent. So not only will your fuel bill be much heftier that it should be, you’re also doing more damage to the environment.
Driving for long distances, at high speeds, on underinflated tyres can result in an incredibly dangerous blow out. Not only does it put you at a serious risk of crashing, ultimately causing detrimental harm to other road users, it’s a nightmare to get fixed, and is likely to damage the rim. Handling levels are massively affected by tyres that are underinflated as well, with stopping distances increased and steering taking a similar knock. A car tyre inflator is easily stored in the boot, taking up limited space and will seem like a priceless purchase when you’re stood on the hard shoulder.
Unlike in the past, not all cars now come as standard with a spare wheel. Marketed as a space saver, most car manufactures in recent years have opted out of providing consumers with a full-size spare wheel, and in its place, you will find tyre sealant foam. Be comfortable that you know how to use it before heading off into the abyss, and if it’s a spare, learn how to use a jack.
Visibility is crucial at all times when driving. Therefore, ensure you have your washer bottles topped up. Country roads that lead to some of the nicest camp sites are also used on a daily basis by tractors and other farm machinery, which are likely to spray muck over the roads. Following Google maps can be tricky enough, never mind having to do so with darkened out, dirt covered windows.
Eating and entertainment
Now you’ve successfully organised the car, it’s worth taking your own comfort into consideration. The last thing you want to do, particularly if you’re on tight budget in regard to time, is to have to devote half an hour to driving around trying to find something for lunch or dinner. Pack a picnic into a cool bag, ensuring you remain fueled with nutrition on the journey. It’s important that you don’t forget drinks either – remember to take plenty of cold and hot drinks such as water and organic coffee to keep you hydrated on your trip.
Building a playlist is often a popular choice for longer journeys, as the radio can sometimes become monotonous. If you fancy a few laughs along the way, a nice addition to Spotify as of late is the Best of British Comedy playlist, which includes a range of excerpts from stand up shows and BBC series Mock the Week.
Whether it’s a Sunday drive, or a week-long holiday, ensuring your car is in tip-top shape is essential. Before taking off on your next trip follow these quick tips to guarantee a comfortable ride.
About the author
Jonny Gilpin is a copywriter for digital marketing agency, Mediaworks. Originally from Northern Ireland but now based in Newcastle, he specialises in lifestyle, current affairs and sport.