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Prepare your car to head home this Christmas

Prepare your car to head home this Christmas

Category: Car insurance

Updated: 17/12/2014
First Published: 17/12/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Many of us will be hitting the roads this Christmas to gather with friends and family for some festive fun. But is your car ready to tackle the winter weather, and are you prepared for an unexpected breakdown? Well now may be the time to make sure you are, as all too many of us head for the open road without making sure we have all the equipment and insurance cover we need.

Unprepared for breakdown

According to Asda Money, December is a prime time for car trouble, with the number of breakdowns in December 2013 rising by 35% from October of that year. Roadside recoveries also saw a sharp increase, rising by 26% over the same period. It also turns out that many of us lack even the most basic gear to see us safely through an emergency breakdown, with 61% of respondents admitting that they don't keep a spare mobile phone charger in their car, while another 70% fail to carry spare bulbs for brake lights or headlights.

Commenting on the findings, Kirsty Ward, senior director at Asda Money, said: "As the weather continues to deteriorate, families need to make sure they have made all the necessary checks on their car as roads become more hazardous. It doesn't take long to prepare a car for winter, and it could make all the difference in avoiding a breakdown or accident this Christmas."

So, what exactly should you do to make sure that your car is ready to make the journey home?

Getting your car ready

It's easy to get your car prepped and ready for a Christmas trip – just follow these simple tips.

  • If you're planning on making a journey this winter, make sure you get your car serviced first, especially if you are planning on driving a long way. A regular service can correct any issues that haven't yet become apparent, and it could save you a chilly wait on the hard shoulder.
  • Check the oil and anti-freeze levels before you set off. It's also a good idea to check that all of your lights are working – night sets in early in winter, so having fully-functioning lights is crucial. Make sure you carry some extra oil, anti-freeze and lights in your car just in case.
  • Test your batteries before you leave. A flat battery is a headache you just don't need when you're all set to enjoy the holidays.
  • Make sure you've got suitable breakdown assistance, particularly if you're planning a lengthy trip, as it could give valuable peace of mind. You may already have it included as part of your car insurance policy, but if you're not sure, now's the time to check.
  • Take some food and a hot drink with you on long journeys. If you break down, you may have to wait for assistance, so having something to keep you going is important, especially when the weather is cold.
  • Charge your mobile before you get in the car and carry a spare charger in your glove box. Nothing is worse than trying to call for help and finding that your phone is completely dead.
  • Give your tyres a once-over before a journey. Worn tyres can be dangerous, so get them replaced if necessary.
  • Up-to-date car insurance is another must. Dig out your policy and check that it is in date and have a read over what you are covered for. This way, you can set off on your journey in the knowledge that every eventuality is covered.

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Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.