Get your car ready for sum­mer

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By DAVE MOORE

While the Christ­mas-New Year hol­i­days are still a while off, it pays to check your car, and car­a­van, boat trailer and horse­box now, as me­chan­ics and garages will start to get busy soon.

It’s likely that war­rants for your equip­ment will also need to be seen too, so don’t leave it too late.

The sum­mer could be one of the busiest ever, as fewer peo­ple can af­ford to go over­seas and the roads will be more crowded than you’re used to dur­ing the rest of the year.

The eco­nomic down­turn has put se­ri­ous pres­sure on mo­torists but that doesn’t mean you can try to save by not keep­ing your equip­ment safe and sound.

If you think you can do ev­ery­thing your­self, don’t cut cor­ners and if you’re not sure about any­thing, con­sult a pro­fes­sional.

Gen­eral sum­mer­time tips

Al­ways pre­pare your car be­fore a long jour­ney. Check tyres, brakes, wind­screen wash, lights, oil and wa­ter lev­els prior to trav­el­ling.

If tow­ing a car­a­van, en­sure you carry out suit­able checks for its road­wor­thi­ness too. You may not have used the car­a­van, trailer, boat or horse box since last year, and it may have de­te­ri­o­rated since then. Pay par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to its hitch, brakes, wheel bear­ing and light­ing. Keep an eye on your fuel lev­els, es­pe­cially if driv­ing in the coun­try­side and you are un­sure where the next fill­ing sta­tion will be. Try to never let the gauge fall be­low one quar­ter.

Make sure you have ad­e­quate car break­down cover that will get you to your desti­na­tion with min­i­mal dis­rup­tion in the un­for­tu­nate event of a break­down – and make sure you have your emer­gency call­out num­ber, if you have one, with you or in your mo­bile phone mem­ory.

Plan your jour­ney so you know where you are go­ing, tak­ing a map or GPS sys­tem with you, plus a tele­phone num­ber for your desti­na­tion in case you do get lost or break down.

Al­low ex­tra time to get to your desti­na­tion if trav­el­ling at peak times. Bet­ter still, try to avoid Fri­day evenings when ev­ery­one else will be on the road.

In case of a break­down

Break­ing down on the side of the road can be ex­tremely hazardous. Con­sider your own safety first. If pos­si­ble, get your ve­hi­cle off the road and en­sure all pas­sen­gers are safe.

Park safely away from traf­fic and switch on your hazard lights.

Make sure you have a re­flec­tive jacket or tabard for your­self and your pas­sen­gers – they’re only a few dol­lars and can save lives on a busy road.

If you wish to leave the car, exit with cau­tion on the side of the car away from the traf­fic. Find some­where to sit that is a good dis­tance away from the road and where you can keep an eye out for help to ar­rive.

Of par­tic­u­lar note, don’t for­get to tell the break­down com­pany if you have chil­dren on board.

SUM­MER’S HERE: Be pre­pared for con­di­tions you may not be used to dur­ing the rest of the year.

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