Don’t risk a breakdown this Christmas
A few basic vehicle checks could help ensure you’re not left stranded at the roadside, and reduce your stress levels, if you’re planning to join the great pre-Christmas getaway this year.
GEM’s tips will go a long way to ensuring you won’t be needing to call for help this winter.
GEM road safety officer Neil Worth explains that it’s often the simple things such as checking there’s air in your tyres and fuel in your tank before you set off. “Figures suggest that nearly a million motorists break down every year purely because they run out of fuel,” he says. “Other top reasons our members call for breakdown assistance include flat tyres, dead batteries and other electrical malfunctions, most of which could be prevented through routine checks and regular servicing.
“Get to know your vehicle and ensure it’s properly and regularly maintained so you’re not waiting for signs of trouble before taking action – as that may be too late!
“Everyone expects busy roads as the holiday period approaches, but no one wants to be stranded at the roadside. We are keen to ensure that everyone gets to where they want to go safely, with as little extra stress as possible. That’s why a few minutes spent on a few basic vehicle checks before you set off really could pay dividends.”
Can you avoid a breakdown?
Although regular maintenance will reduce your risk of a breakdown, there are times – unfortunately – when it’s just going to happen, for whatever reason. That’s when having a good breakdown recovery policy is so important, according to Neil Worth.
“Comprehensive breakdown cover from GEM costs as little as £78.50 for a year,” he says. “Compare that with the hundreds it will cost you if you need a recovery operator to turn out, especially on Christmas Day, and get you to your destination. It simply is not worth the risk.”
GEM’s tips for stress-free Christmas journeys are as follows:
- Ensure your car is serviced regularly. Our experts reckon that more than 50 per cent of breakdowns would not have occurred if the car had recently had a service.
- Be good to your battery. Cold weather puts an additional burden on it, so get it checked. Remember that batteries last an average of five years, so be ready to replace it if necessary.
- Check the pressure and tread on all your tyres, including the spare.
- Keep your screen wash topped up. As part of the service, a garage will check and top up the antifreeze in your engine coolant.
- Fill up with fuel before a journey, which should help you save money by avoiding the need for a pricey fill-up on the motorway. Aim to refill when the gauge drops to one quarter. Don’t wait for the fuel warning light to come on.
- Check your route for possible delays before you set off, and always have an alternative route planned.
- Finally, spread the cheer… no one likes sitting in traffic jams, but you can help defuse any seasonal tensions by a small act of kindness such as letting someone into the queue…
Merry Christmas from everyone at GEM Motoring Assist!