With the airports and airlines experiencing so many problems, many of us are choosing a “staycation” over a holiday abroad, meaning our trusty vehicles are once again being called into service. Before heading out on that long journey over the Pennines or down to the south coast, don’t forget your POWDER-Y…. These checks should be done regularly to ensure the fitness of your vehicle, but never more so than when we are heading out a long way from home. As advanced drivers, I’m sure the meaning is engraved on your hearts, but just in case, here’s a reminder…
P is for Petrol (or any other sort of fuel). Make sure you fill your tank before starting your journey and top up regularly. Also plan your refuelling stops, especially if you have an electric car.
O is for Oil. This should be checked when the engine is cold (check your handbook) and the vehicle is parked on a level surface. Also include hydraulic fluids for the clutch, brake, and power steering systems in your inspection.
W is for Water. Check levels in the radiator and windscreen washer bottles on a level surface.
D is for Damage. Check bodywork, wheels and fixtures, including mirrors and windows. Make sure windows are clean inside and out.
E is for Electrics. Check all lights, indicators and hazard warning lights are in good working order and clean. Also test the horn.
R is for Rubber. Check the tyre pressures and tread depth, and look for damage to the tyres and wheels. Check the wiper blades for damage.
Y is for You. If you’re heading out on holiday, chances are you’re in need of a break. Think about how you’re feeling, plan plenty of breaks and don’t drink tired. Safety is the priority.
Some of these checks are even more essential when the thermometer begins to rise, for example if you have a long way to go, you’ll be away for a few days, or its essential you catch a flight or sea crossing.
IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Driving & Riding Standards, Richard Gladman, says “You’d be amazed how many people don’t fill up with fuel, or fully-charge their batteries, before setting out. But think about it beforehand, because not only will it prevent you running out of fuel and potentially stuck on a roasting motorway embankment, but it will also save you a fortune because filling up with any fuel on a motorway is currently so expensive.”
And he adds: “Heat makes your oil less viscous, which means it might not lubricate your engine parts as thoroughly as they need if there’s not enough; and the hot weather makes your cooling system work much harder, so top up your radiator and check for any leaks. And don’t forget to check your screen washer reserves - there’s nothing worse than trying to drive with a screen covered in squashed flies – particularly if you’re driving directly into the sun.”
Of course, no matter how careful you are, cars sometimes do break down, so be prepared with a few extras in the boot in case you need to wait for help: Bottles of water will keep you and your passengers hydrated; light snacks will keep everyone’s energy levels up too. And perhaps keep a large umbrella in the car – not for rain, but to keep the sun off your head.
Above all, have a wonderful summer and happy driving from all at CAM!