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Six quick checks from GEM to help you avoid a breakdown this summer

posted on 05/07/2023
Six quick checks from GEM to help you avoid a breakdown this summer

ROAD SAFETY AND breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist has a selection of simple tips to minimise the risk of breaking down on a summer holiday journey.

GEM says levels of traffic on motorways and popular holiday routes will grow in the coming weeks, potentially putting pressure on vehicle recovery services. That’s why it pays to ensure a few basic checks have been carried out before heading off for a day trip or longer holiday.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth comments: “A car that’s well maintained and properly looked after is much less likely to break down.

“That’s why we are urging drivers to get some basic maintenance checks done before setting off for a summer break in the car.

“We can all carry out checks on tyres to ensure tread is sufficient and pressure is correct. We can also check fluid levels and ensure screens are clear and clean.

“Battery failure remains the number one reason our members call for breakdown recovery, even in summer, so we strongly recommend getting your vehicle battery checked before a long journey. Take the opportunity to get any dashboard warning lights investigated as well.

“By taking some simple steps before you go, you’ll be much better placed to avoid the misery and inconvenience of a roadside breakdown this summer.”

GEM offers six car health check tips to complete before a long holiday drive
Most of these are covered in GEM’s series of short ‘how to’ video guides.

Tyres: check pressures and adjust if necessary to take heavy loads into account. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre. Check out our video on how to check your tyres.

Fuel: set off with a full tank of fuel, or full battery charge if you’re driving an electric car. Plan where you’ll stop to recharge or refuel.

Batteries: battery failures are a year-round cause of vehicle malfunction. The summer load on your car’s electrics can be greatly increased if you’re in stop-start traffic on a hot day with everyone needing to keep their mobile devices charged. A visit to your local service centre can put your mind at rest when it comes to battery health… and if it needs replacing, then you can get it done before it lets you down.

Fluids: many breakdowns could be avoided through simple and quick checks of the fluids your car needs. Consult your car owner’s manual to see what checks you can make and how to do them. Engine oil level checks are vital for your car to run smoothly.

Warning lights: don’t be tempted to ignore any warning lights that appear on your car dashboard. Yellow warning lights mean you need to take action to have a fault put right. Red warning lights mean you must stop the car as soon as it’s safe.

Screens and screenwash: expect a build-up of dead insects on your windscreen and front lights. Make a point of manually cleaning the windscreen and windows regularly; don’t rely on wipers and washer fluid to clear away everything. Do also check your windscreen washer bottle is full before you set off. 

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