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How to prepare your Vehicle before leaving on Holiday?

Have you chosen the destination for your summer holidays? Summer holidays and construction holidays are quickly approaching and it’s time to start thinking about preparing your vehicle for long drives… In order to avoid unnecessary stress, we have created a list of things to check before leaving. Tires, air conditioning, insurance: take a look at this checklist before leaving on holiday this summer!

How to Prepare your Vehicle before a Long Drive

Whether you are planning a road trip or simply a long drive to go camping with your family, it is important to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the road. To do so, you can ask your local Centre Auto Point S to carry out a preventive or seasonal inspection. It is also important to make sure this inspection isn’t scheduled for the day before your departure!

Before leaving on holiday, it is recommended to check:

  • The date of your last technical inspection
  • The condition of your tires (pressure, wear, etc.)
  • Your fluid levels
  • Your brakes
  • The condition of your windshield and windshield wipers
  • Your battery
  • Your signalling
  • Your air conditioning
  • Your roof box
  • Your vehicle’s insurance
  • Technical control

Preventive Inspection

Before leaving on holiday, schedule a preventive inspection for your vehicle; it will reassure you that it is safe for long drives. Of course, it is recommended to plan ahead in order to get an appointment at the garage; the holiday season is often very busy! Take an appointment in June, or even earlier if possible.

Keep in mind that any necessary reparations could be expensive and have an impact on your holiday budget.

Tire Condition

Your tires will be working extra hard during long drives. It is important to ensure that they are not too worn out and that their pressure is optimal; they mustn’t be under inflated nor over inflated. To check if a tire is still good, use the 25 cent trick. Insert a 25 cent piece into the tires’ grooves with the head of the caribou facing downwards. If you can’t see the nose of the caribou, it means that the grooves’ depth is equal or superior to 6/32 of an inch. You are good to go! However, if you can see the caribou’s nose, it means that it is time to change your tires as they are too worn out and may not adhere properly to the road.

Make sure to also check the condition of your spare tire! If it is not in good condition, you risk not being able to change your tire in case of a puncture or other problem.

Fluid Levels

It is important to check your vehicle’s fluid levels regularly in order to be able to fill up their reservoir if needed. It is quite simple to check your fluid levels yourself, preferably when your vehicle’s motor is stopped.

To check the level of your motor oil, look for the cap (often yellow) located on the top of your motor. The brake fluid reservoir is made of transparent plastic, whereas the reservoir for the coolant can be found near the radiator, against the grill. Finally, the wiper fluid has a blue cap on its reservoir.

Brakes

This checkup is essential, as much for your safety as for the safety of the other drivers on the road. As well as checking your brake fluid levels, it is important to keep an eye on your brake pads’ wear. If your brakes are squeaking or making a strange sound, it means you should take your car in for a checkup, especially before leaving on holiday. Ask a professional to inspect your vehicle at your local Centre Auto Point S.

Windshield and Windshield Wipers

Make sure you inspect your windshield to look for cracks, chips, points of impact, and defects. As well as compromising your visibility, a point of impact could transform into a crack following a shock… You aren’t sure if you should replace your windshield or simply repair it? Visit our special Windshield page; you will be sure to find all the answers you are looking for.

Don’t forget to check the condition of your windshield wipers either; the rubber they are made of can become damaged in the winter. It’s always better to make sure you won’t have any problems with your visibility in case of a summer storm!

Battery

On average, a car battery is good between 4 and 5 years. What if you are having trouble starting your car and have to try it more than once before you are ready to go? You haven’t used your car in a long time? It would be advisable to have your vehicle inspected. You can take an appointment at one of our Centre Auto Point S locations and ask our experts to inspect your battery, as well as carry out any other inspections you feel are necessary.

Signalling

It is always essential to let other drivers know when you are about to change lanes or have to brake suddenly. Therefore, it is important to check that your signal lights are working, with the help of someone standing outside your vehicle: low beams, brake lights, reverse lights, blinkers…

And don’t forget the lights on your dashboard!

Air Conditioning

No one wants to be stuck in traffic in 35 degree heat with no air conditioning. Before leaving on holiday, it is therefore recommended to make sure that your car air conditioning is working properly, as well as checking your pollen filters.

Roof Box, Camper, and Trailer

To overcome the limitations imposed by the trunk of their car, drivers often add a box on the roof of their vehicle, or even attach a trailer. Again, it is important to check your installation carefully: is the trailer properly attached? Are you sure you haven’t exceeded the maximum charge for your roof box? Also keep in mind that the weight of a roof box, trailer, or other will increase your fuel consumption, especially on the highway.

If you are going on holiday with a camper, remember that electric braking systems are often fragile. It is recommended to have it inspected every year, for obvious security reasons.

Auto Insurance

Now here’s something that can’t be neglected! First, make sure that your auto insurance provides efficient coverage if you are travelling in the United States and check if anyone besides you is allowed to drive your vehicle. This information is important to know if you are planning on sharing a long drive with someone else.

What Should I Carry in the Car on Holiday?

Having a car in good condition isn’t enough when you are leaving for an extended holiday; it’s better to be prepared for any situation you could encounter on the road. Here is a list of things to carry with you in the car when you are on holiday:

  • Tools
  • Important papers and documents
  • A good GPS to avoid traffic
  • Something to eat and drink
  • Something to keep you (and your family) entertained

Tools for any Situation

Check the condition of your spare tire as well as the contents of your emergency toolbox. If you ever need to repair something on the way, you should have jumper cables, a wrench, a screwdriver… a first aid kit and some flares will also help you have peace of mind.

Papers and Documents you should carry With You

As well as the vehicle’s registration papers, remember to bring your driver’s licence! Make sure that your registration is up to date, write down the date of your last inspection, and make sure you know what your auto insurance covers. Finally, it can be practical to print out your activities or hotel registrations.

The GPS, your Best Friend on Long Drives

Nowadays, who still uses a paper map when GPS are so practical? Even if you know your holiday itinerary by heart, a GPS will be able to find the optimal roads to take in order to avoid traffic, or which detour to take if you want to stop at your favourite restaurant.

Eating, Drinking, and Entertaining Yourself in the Car

There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the car when you are hungry or thirsty. Think to bring something to eat and drink during your car ride. To avoid dehydration in case of very hot weather, bring reusable water bottles you can fill up at gas stations. Your safety kit should also include non-perishable food items such as granola bars.

Finally, if you are going on holiday with your family, remember to bring something to entertain them. Whether it’s a tablet with cartoons, audio books, and even games for the whole family, there are many suitable options. There are several games that can be played in the car: 20 Questions, I Spy, the Alphabet Game, guess the colour of the next car that will pass, etc…


If you want to leave on holiday feeling relaxed, make an appointment at your local Point S Auto Service Center. Our experts will be happy to conduct a complete inspection of your vehicle, as well as make any necessary repairs.

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