If you're dashing off in the car for a holiday, whether it be over Christmas and New Year, or mid-summer,  do take a little time to prepare the car and yourself for the trip.

Don't, like so many, leave it until the last minute, it'll spoil your holiday if it lets you down.

You've left it too late to get a service done but do check the car over yourself and carry some common spare parts, remember most garages will be closed for many days over the holidays, even for petrol, so make sure you have a full tank.

Pack a small container with bulbs, fuses, ignition parts, belts, cables, hoses and clips and pack them in an easy to reach place. You don't want to have to unload the boot to reach a spare fuse.


  • Check the car over fully the day before departure :
  • Ensure all four wheels are fixed correctly and all tyres - including the spare - are undamaged, correctly inflated, and with a minimum 2mm of tread.
  • Check wipers, lights, indicators and horn operate properly and the mirrors are correctly set.
  • Check the oil level is adequate, likewise the automatic gearbox fluid, brake, clutch and power steering fluid levels and top up if necessary.
  • Check the coolant level and the radiator hoses and clips, anti-freeze always finds the tiniest holes.
  • Check wiper blades are in good order and that the washer bottle is topped up.
  • Top up the battery with distilled water if your battery is of the unsealed type.


One last tip, if you normally only drive a few miles to work each day, don't ruin the start and finish of your holiday by trying to drive long distances in the dark without a break, neither you nor the car will be up to it and your well earned break will suffer.


Article © Graham Benge 2007

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