Nine step ultimate checklist before driving this Easter bank holiday weekend

Aviva Car Insurance

Maintaining your vehicle is crucial – not just for your own safety – but for those around you. As a driver, it is your legal responsibility to make sure your car is in roadworthy condition, which means carrying out essential repairs and maintenance. Failing to do so, means that you risk being unable to make a claim, and you could be putting yourself and others at risk should the worst unfortunately happen.

Getting into the habit of checking things like oil and coolant levels is good practice – particularly as you may be travelling for longer due to road closures or traffic jams or travelling further afield.

Checklist for car maintenance

To help drivers as they prepare to travel over the Easter holidays, we’ve put together a 9 -step ‘ultimate’ checklist:

1. Check your car lights and bulbs are clean and working properly

Although days might be longer and brighter, it’s good practice to check that all your lights – such as headlights, brakes, fog, rear and indicator lights - are clean and in working order. Not only are faulty or dirty lights dangerous as they impair your vision and could cause a collision, they are also illegal and could lead to you facing a fine. If you’re unsure or not able to change them yourself, head to a mechanic or your local garage as soon as possible.

2. Check tyre pressure and depth

The fallout from winter can impact the state of your tyres particularly where potholes are involved - so it’s worth taking the time to physically inspect your tyres for any damage. Keeping your tyre tread depth between 3-4mm - around the thickness of a €2 coin is recommended to improve steering and braking in your car in less favorable road conditions. It’s equally important not to over-inflate your tyres to prevent slipping and if you’ve put on snow tyres, remember to take these off in time for spring.

3. Check your windscreen wipers

Wiper blades can often be worn down and damaged by tough weather conditions, which is why all drivers should check they are in good working order. Windscreen wipers wipe away debris, snow, rain and more, so without them your vision could be severely impaired. Not only is it your legal responsibility to make sure you can properly see out of your windscreen, poor wiper maintenance could lead to you having a driving incident.

4. Inspect your windscreen for any damage or cracks

Damage and cracks can be caused by small stones flying onto your windscreen, which can be a distraction when driving and could impair your vision. If you find any chips, be sure to get these repaired as soon as possible to avoid any further damage.

5. Check oil and coolant levels

Check oil and coolant levels, especially if you’re planning to visit friends or family further afield. Although easily done, take caution to prevent accidently mixing fluids1 and damaging your engine. Aviva research shows that over one fifth (22%) of people who have botched a DIY maintenance job on their car have needed professional help with fixing mishaps around topping up and checking fluids, so if you’re ever unsure, speak to your mechanic.

6. Check your brakes

Spring can be known for its showers and during wet weather conditions the stopping distance significantly increases, which is why it’s crucial to check that your brakes are in working order. If you notice any changes such as strange noises and find your brakes being unresponsive, head to your local garage or mechanic as soon as possible.

7. Never drive through flood water and take caution driving through fords or tides

After periods of heavy rain, it’s best to avoid driving through flood water where possible. It’s difficult to see how deep the water may be and you could end up becoming stranded or even swept away. Just 30cm of fast-flowing water is enough to move a car2. During bad weather, fords and tides may be higher than usual and so if you’re ever in doubt, find an alternative route or wait for the tide to lower. It only takes a small amount of water to ruin an engine, so it pays to be cautious.

8. Check your batteries

If your car or car battery is more than five years old, it is possible that the 12v battery may be getting past its best. Spring weather can be unpredictable, and a cold snap could impact a battery’s charging capability, which is why it’s good to get into the habit of checking your battery on a regular basis. If you own an electric vehicle, cold weather may also reduce the range, so bear this in mind when planning journeys and charge routines.

9. Pack an emergency kit in case you break down

Preparation is key and handy things to keep in your car include a warning triangle, torch and batteries, mobile phone and charger, breakdown membership card and tow rope, thick cardboard, or material (for traction), outdoor clothes and sunglasses (for glare) as well as a shovel, blanket, and a de-icer.

Once you head off on your getaway, you’ll want to know your car is protected. Buy your car insurance online with Aviva and get a 15% discount. Get your quote today.3

15% online car insurance discount³

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1. Research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva with 1,000 respondents who own or have access to a car and have ever attempted car maintenance/repairs on their own (17+) between 28.07.23 - 07.08.23.
2. According to the Environment Agency
3. Offer of 15% discount only applies to new car insurance policies bought online. Acceptance criteria, terms and conditions apply. Subject to a minimum premium of €310 for car insurance. Aviva reserves the right to withdraw, suspend or amend this offer or any of the terms and conditions there of at any time without prior notice.

Car insurance is underwritten by Aviva Insurance Ireland DAC.

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