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How to Avoid Vehicle Breakdown This Christmas

NEIL WORTH

A few basic vehicle checks could help ensure you’re not left stranded at the roadside, and reduce your stress levels, if you’re planning to join the great pre-Christmas getaway this year. 

It’s often the simple things such as checking there’s air in your tyres and fuel in your tank before you set off. Figures suggest that nearly a million motorists break down every year purely because they run out of fuel.

Other top reasons our members call for breakdown assistance include flat tyres, dead batteries and other electrical malfunctions, most of which could be prevented through routine checks and regular servicing.

Get to know your vehicle and ensure it’s properly and regularly maintained so you’re not waiting for signs of trouble before taking action – as that may be too late!

Everyone expects busy roads as the holiday period approaches, but no one wants to be stranded at the roadside. To, therefore, ensure you get to where you want to go safely, with as little extra stress as possible, a few minutes spent on a few basic vehicle checks before you set off really could pay dividends.

Tips for stress-free Christmas journeys are as follows:

  • Ensure your car is serviced regularly. Our experts reckon that more than 50 per cent of breakdowns would not have occurred if the car had recently had a service.
  • Be good to your battery. Cold weather puts an additional burden on it, so get it checked. Remember that batteries last an average of five years, so be ready to replace it if necessary.
  • Check the pressure and tread on all your tyres, including the spare.
  • Keep your screen wash topped up. As part of the service, a garage will check and top up the antifreeze in your engine coolant.
  • Fill up with fuel before a journey, which should help you save money by avoiding the need for a pricey fill-up on the motorway. Aim to refill when the gauge drops to one quarter. Don’t wait for the fuel warning light to come on.
  • Check your route for possible delays before you set off, and always have an alternative route planned.
  • Finally, spread the cheer… no one likes sitting in traffic jams, but you can help defuse any seasonal tensions by a small act of kindness such as letting someone into the queue…

Merry Christmas!

Neil Worth is a road safety officer with UK-based ROAD SAFETY and breakdown organisation, GEM Motoring Assist

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