Whether you're heading to the mountains in search of fresh air or to the most popular seaside resorts, the car has for years been the preferred means of transport for Italians. To get your holiday off to a good start and make it a real source of relaxation, it is advisable to avoid letting the car create problems or, worse still, leave you stranded in the scorching sun. Here are 9 simple checks to prepare your car for the journey.
1) Check the condition and inflation of the tyres
Tyres are the car's shoes, if they are too worn they make driving dangerous as well as illegal, so a good check should measure that the tread is over 1.6mm, the legal minimum limit before replacing the tyres. Each tyre has an indicator inside its grooves (to find it just look for a triangle, the manufacturer's logo or the TWI sign on the side of the tyre) to determine if the legal threshold has been reached. Another way to determine the wear of summer tyres is to place a 1 euro coin in the central groove; if you see stars, the rubber should be thrown away.
Let's not forget to check the pressure of all 5 tyres, because we don't want to have to stop for a puncture and discover that we also have a spare tyre on the floor! Summer tyre pressure should be between 2.0 and 3.0 bar, but it's always best to check the mast plate (the part of the bodywork where the door closes) on the driver's side to find out the exact pressure of your car. Lastly, it seems almost obvious, let's check if you have summer or four-season tires.
2) Check the air conditioning system
With the African heat in Italy in summer, air conditioning becomes a blessing for all passengers, especially in a car full of people with a dark body. In addition to ensuring driving comfort, a more reasonable temperature in the passenger compartment has the side effect of increasing safety by making the driver more alert and responsive behind the wheel. Too high a temperature can cause drowsiness, loss of sensory capacity or heat stroke, which can be dangerous for the driver, passengers and other cars.
If necessary, opening the windows while driving can help, but remember that fuel consumption increases significantly, as +20% goes to 100 km/h.
3) Check the engine oil level
Proper engine lubrication ensures a long life to the car, textbook performance and low counts of the mechanic. However, if we use the car for mainly urban journeys, we may not notice noises and oil problems that are sure to appear on the fateful summer journey. Checking the quality and level of the engine oil, a good practice every month, therefore becomes essential before starting the 400 km trip where the engine is certainly stressed. Experts advise you then to buy and keep in your car a pack of spare oil compatible with your model to refill in case of leaks, avoiding serious damage to the engine and allowing you to reach the nearest garage safely.
4) Inspecting the timing belt and service belt
The timing belt, which ensures the synchronization of the engine components, and the service belt, which feeds the water pump, fan and alternator, are both key components for the efficiency and well-being of the engine, and therefore also for the wallet.
Both belts are cheap spare parts in themselves, but if damaged, they can cause very serious damage to the engine. There are no precise parameters for replacement (they are usually said every 100-150 thousand kilometres or after 5 years of use), however any kind of suspicious noise or failure suggests the urgency of an inspection, especially in older cars or cars with many kilometres.
5) Check that you are in order with the bureaucracy
Circulars with overdue servicing can lead to unpleasant misunderstandings if stopped by the Police, unlike the coupon which is in fact an inspection that must be carried out by law within certain periods. The first one must be carried out after 4 years if the car is bought new, then every 2 years; instead, it must be carried out every year for taxis, goods vehicles and other special vehicles. To find out when your inspection expires, simply look at the Service page on the registration card, where the stamps or stickers from the garage are stamped with the result and expiry date of each inspection. Beware of driving without inspection, the fine ranges from 155 to 625 euros plus the administrativestop.if driving on the motorway.
As the acronym Motor Third Party LiabilityInsurance suggests, it protects you from damages unintentionally caused to others while driving. A motor vehicle without Motor Third Party Liability Insurance carries a fine of 841 to 3366 euros plus impoundment of the vehicle.
. To find out if the RCA insurance for your motorbike or car is valid, simply consult the Motorist Portal and enter the number plate.
By the way, if you're not sure how many points you have on your license, read this article to find out how to check your balance.
6) Check brake wear
We often focus on the comfort of driving or the performance of our journey, but the most important element of active safety is the brakes: check the wear on the pads, the condition of the caliper and the quality of the oilof the brakes becomes crucial. Brake oil is highly hygroscopic, easily absorbs water and moisture from the air, and therefore loses braking power in the heat. If you see that the discs are excessively scuffed, it is likely that the pads have reached their maximum wear.
A brief stop at the workshop will allow you to assess both the quality of the fluid and the wear of the pads and calipers, when it comes to the brakes we don't worry about the expense, we only use new and quality components.The reason for this is for the safety of you and your loved ones on board!
7) Checking the air filter and the pollen filter
In addition to the air conditioning, another component that has a double function of comfort and safety is the pollen filter, which in fact blocks the entry as well as the pollen to dust and particles, very common in the sandy environments of the sea. Good air qualityhelps you stay focused on driving on long trips and trips from home to the beach, as well as keeping the cabin clean.
You should also check the engine air filter, which only takes a few minutes and helps keep the car efficient and reduces fuel consumption..
8) Checking the battery and alternator
Summer heat, high energy use from air conditioning and recharging electronic devices increase the deterioration of the battery which, if it has several summers behind it, may need to be regenerated or replaced. Some batteries are equipped with a window to see inside.Check the battery and alternator, green ok, red to pull, otherwise in a few moments an electrician or mechanic will be able to tell you the state of your battery.
9) Check the warning lights and headlights.
Last but not least, any driver will conclude the inspection by checking that all dipped headlights , main beam, fog lights, position lights (front and rear), brake warning lights, and the fourarrows work perfectly. To do this, you just need a friend to tell us if they work while we, from inside the car, operate them one by one. You might be interested in 5 things you should know before taking your car to the mechanic9 car checks before your holiday.