With all that’s been happening since the beginning of 2020, there is no need to say that this year’s holidays will be a little different from the one you had in mind to take. Staying in the UK might not have been the idea of summer months that many had in mind. And while we are planning our future trips to exotic destinations, other options are opening up.
However, due to the current travel restrictions, it is almost impossible to plan… all but a road trip! Since you can move within the country, and we are not short of natural beauties and stunning landscapes, get in your car and start driving! Aside from being an excellent way to reconnect with nature, it allows you to live a semi-private adventure with your closest friends.
Trust a Professional
Your car is likely to be your best friend while on the road, especially if you are planning an itinerary longer than just a weekend. While in the city it is easy to reach out for a professional that can come to fix an unexpected issue, it is not the same anywhere. If you have been heading toward Scotland, country roads can stretch for miles at a time, with little to nothing along with them. All this, plus the fact that you will be driving for long hours, makes looking after your car paramount.
However, to enjoy a road trip, you don’t necessarily have to be an expert mechanic, as long as you have the contact details of one! A visit to a professional such as Vauxhall Servicing allows you to reduce the risk of issues while on your road trip. Of course, this is also essential to maintain your car at its best for many years to come.
Check the Engine’s Belt and Hoses
Monthly hoses and belts checks are at the core of a healthy car maintenance routine. These two components of the engine are essential for the functioning of the car. If they become ineffective or they are not in good order, leakage can cause severe damages to the engine. Even worse, it can represent a serious safety hazard while on the road!
If your vehicle is relatively new, it is likely to be using serpentine belts, which are responsible for driving most engine parts. Start your examination by looking for cracks or exposed threads. To check the hoses, pinch the radiator ones together to see how rigid they are. While there is liquid flowing inside, these should not be swollen. In that case, the cause could be a blockage, and you need to replace them immediately.
Check the Car’s Battery
If your car’s battery stops working mid-trip, you can easily restart it. While this hiccup won’t hugely affect the outcome of your holiday, you might need to jump-start your car. And, even if you are knowledgeable and even an expert in the process, it might take you some time to get back on the road!
Therefore, checking the battery of your car before setting off can hugely help you to enjoy a smooth trip. You can do so with a voltmeter or asking a nearby mechanic. The second option offers you better peace of mind and allows you to check all the above details at once. Just prepare a list for your mechanic, and you are good to go!
Oil and Radiator Fluid
Your car’s radiator has the task of keeping the engine cool, and it does so by creating a solution of water and coolant (antifreeze). To check whether there is enough liquid in the radiator tank, just identify it and look at the liquid.
Often, you won’t need to unscrew the cap, since these tanks are see-through. Check the level of the liquid – ideally, it should reach the “full” line. If it does not, add some of the blends. These solutions come pre-mixed for your convenience, but some might require you to add an equal part of water. Check the manufacturer’s instructions.
Inspect the Brakes
Inspecting the brakes and making sure that they function properly is essential. This allows you to drive in all safety, regardless of current weather conditions. While you can check them by yourself, it is recommendable to speak to an expert to ensure that the breaks are correctly functioning.
After all, they are the most critical aspect of driving a car! Experience and knowing your vehicle can play a significant role in knowing whether your brakes need adjusting. If you can hear noises or cracks, you should take your car to a professional mechanic. And, since you are already at it, don’t forget to check the brake’s fluid!
Check the Tires
Depending on where you are heading, you will need your tires to be adequate for the type of terrain. During the summer months, all-seasons tires are sufficient to guarantee you optimal performances and a high level of safety. However, this is mostly true for smaller cars, from which you don’t require high speeds.
Another two considerations to make before setting off are whether the tyres are in good shape and if they are correctly inflated. These factors allow you to control the adhesion of the car to the road and greatly influence the level of safety you’ll experience while driving your car.
Visibility Is Paramount
Checking the windshield fluid and blades is essential. Counting on the fact that you will never encounter rainy weather conditions while driving in the UK can cause you to set unrealistic expectations. Moreover, long road drivers can make your car dirty and dusty. Since this dust will start accumulating on the windshield, it is easy to notice the level of visibility decreasing over time.
While you might postpone washing your car exterior for after the trip, the dust and dirt accumulated on the windshield must be removed immediately! Washer fluid can be filled up at any station, but having the reserve tanks full before your trip is crucial.
Pack a Tent and Sleeping Bags
Undoubtedly, road trips are the ultimate adventurous holiday for outdoors-lovers. However, learning the basics of car mechanics and wilderness survival is vital. It is unlikely that you will put either of these skills to use, especially if your road trip is in the UK. Nonetheless, being ready for such eventuality can help you enjoy your trip fully.
Along these lines, make sure your car is packed with a tent and sleeping bags. Even if you have planned a precise itinerary and you have a hotel room waiting for you at the end of your day on the road, you can never be too sure!
Clean and Organize Your Car
The eyes are the window to the soul, but your car’s interior can say a thing or two about your personality and lifestyle too! If you are not planning on a solo road trip, make sure the car is ready to be enjoyed by everybody. You can obtain professional results just by vacuuming the seats and carpets. Then, add a bin and wipes to keep the car clean no matter how many snacks you will have on the way!
Regarding the exterior of your car, a road trip is not exactly an elegant occasion for which you might wish to have your car clean and shiny. However, asking a professional to clean it and apply a layer of wax can’t hurt. If you really need to do so, you can also clean it again at the end of your trip.
A Hammock Can Make Your Weekend More Exciting
If you are not sure what your final destination is, don’t forget to pack a hammock. Whether you are not planning on going much further than a campsite or there are several stops on the list, a hammock is perfect for any occasion. It can help you find a seat around a campfire or enjoy the nature of a nearby park. And, if you get really tired mid-trip, you can always use it for a comfortable nap!
Get Your Tech Right!
The times in which you needed to have a paper map to navigate your own country’s roads are over. While these still have a charm that is unique to them, there is no need to increase your chances of getting lost! Ensure you have a map of the region downloaded on Google Maps and Maps.Me. The two apps work with or without internet connection – something that can turn out to be handy in some more remote regions.
Don’t Forget Snacks and Water!
Road trips can be long and, while in some areas you won’t struggle to find a service station, there is something more exciting about filling your car with snacks. Of course, opt for items that won’t have problems maintaining for longer. However, don’t forget that this is effectively your holiday time – this is your time to treat yourself!
Road trips can be exciting journeys that genuinely take you at the core of a culture. Due to the current travel restrictions, you might not be able to explore much further in the UK this year. Yet, there are enchanted villages and beautiful landscapes that are still not marked and waiting to be explored. What is a better occasion there than this “staycation” summer?