You only use your car for holidays or to transport bulky items and travel less than 5,000 km per year. As a result, your vehicle drives very little, if at all, and, contrary to popular belief, a car that drives more or less is damaged.
The battery runs out, the oil settles to the bottom of the crankcase and sometimes becomes a kind of soup, the tires sink to the part still in contact with the ground, the rubber wiper has dried and does not dry, etc.
No wonder, then, if you broke your way to the sun the last time you wanted to use it. To avoid unpleasant surprises on weekend or holiday trips, it is better to plan a complete maintenance in advance and above all to ask the right question: “When was the last time I had the car checked? “.
What to control?
Are they in good condition? Highway, traffic jams, heat … they also act on the rubber. For your safety, check the inflation and wear of your tires. Remember that a tire that bursts at 40 km / h in an urban area does not give the same result as one that bursts on the highway at 130 km / h.
That said, you’re never safe from an unexpected puncture. Nothing serious if you have a spare wheel … And if it is in good condition and properly inflated. Nothing is more annoying than noticing on the side of the road, the cat in your hand, that you forgot to repair the spare wheel or that it has simply deflated over time.
A quick glance before charging your car will only take a few minutes and can save you a bit of hassle. If you find that your tires need to be changed, you can opt for puncture-proof tires, especially if you’re not a fan of everything!
In any case, before leaving, check the cold tire pressure, which must correspond to that recommended by the manufacturer. Pressure is indicated by a label most often placed inside the driver’s door, but sometimes on the fuel filler cap or more simply on the car’s user manual.
Fluid, brake, coolant, engine oil and windshield washer levels
Levels should be checked with the engine cold. Check the coolant level, engine oil (especially if you haven’t changed it in a long time), and brake fluid. Don’t forget the summer windshield washer. As harmless as it may seem, the windshield washer is essential for removing insects that will sink against the windshield.
The battery of a vehicle, whether thermal or electric, suffers even more in summer when temperatures are very high. If you have poor lighting, some downtime during start-up, these may be symptoms of a battery at the end of its life.
Do you turn the key and nothing happens? The battery is likely to run out, especially if the vehicle has not been driven for a long time. If the battery is simply discharged, simply connect it to another vehicle using bridge cables to allow your car to turn on.
If nothing happens, your battery is likely to have abandoned the ghost, especially if it is old because, let’s not forget, the battery is a consumable with a lifespan of around 150,000 km.
In this case, there are two solutions: you are insured against all risks with assistance in case of breakdowns and you only need a simple phone call to repair yourself in the next hour; you are insured without assistance and will need to call a repairman.
The lighting system
Headlamps, dipped-beam headlamps, high-beam headlamps, brake lights and turn signals (remember that the accompanying drivers are not a guess) must be in perfect working order, especially if you are driving. at night. Remember that even if you need good visibility to drive, other drivers must be able to identify you as a vehicle. However, a car with a malfunctioning light, at night and in bad weather, quickly looks like a two-wheeled vehicle from a distance.
To be effective, wipers must be in good condition. If they have been propped up on the windshield all winter, the tires are very likely to be dry and brittle. Hard, cracked tires badly prevent rain, leave marks on the windshield, or even clean anything. Before you can see anything, it’s best to change them.
Brakes are essential for your safety. Check the condition of the entire brake system: brake fluid level, condition of discs and drums, but especially of the pads, not to mention the handbrake. If the latter shows signs of deficiency and needs to be tightened, you probably won’t have the tools or sometimes the mechanic on hand during your romantic weekend.
The air conditioning
Air conditioning is one of the essential items to check before you go on holiday. Imagine … stuck in traffic, on the highway, at 40 ° C in the shade, even if you like the heat, you will appreciate the car’s air conditioning, especially if you travel with children and animals.
The air conditioning is checked and recharged periodically, and it is best not to wait until July to worry about it, with the risk of not finding a place in crowded workshops and with few staff, the holidays are a must.
Also, make sure the vest and warning triangle are present in the passenger compartment, and remember to bring a light bulb box in case one of your lights fails. While most vehicles no longer allow you to change light bulbs yourself, the box is still mandatory in the eyes of the law.
Of course, make sure you are in good condition when it comes to technical control and insurance. To be able to leave with complete peace of mind, also take a look at your maintenance log and check that the scheduled services have been complied with and that the diesel, oil and diesel air filters have been changed on time. A car that drives little is usually forgotten.