Taking your car on a road trip this summer? Here’s a few tips before you go

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Taking your car on a road trip this summer? Here’s a few tips before you go

As we head into summer, tens of thousands of us will be taking the car on a road trip.

Before hitting the road, it is a really good idea to ensure that your car is running as it should be and it is in good mechanical order.  

By keeping your car in good working order will avoid the dreaded breakdown on the side of the road. By taking a few small steps you can also increase your car’s fuel efficiency with just a few precautions.

Tyre Pressure:  

Check your tyre pressure regularly and not forgetting the spare as well. When checking for the correct tyre pressure, refer to your manufacturer's guide.  It’s crucial to regularly check your tyres during the summer as tyre pressure increases with heat, so perform a check now to ensure your tyres are not over or under inflated.

Oil Check:

One of the main things to remember when it comes to maintaining your car, always remember to check your oil levels to ensure there is enough oil in the engine. It may be also the time to get an oil with a service if you haven’t done that in a while. It’s important your engine remains properly lubricated in warm weather.

Cooling System:

After winter it’s always important to ensure your radiator is in perfect working order as a lot of salt may have been spread on the roads due to ice and this salt could build up in the undercarriage and cause rot.  If the radiator is rusted, it could lead to bigger problems down the line. Don’t forget also to top up the Coolant and Water.


If your car has an air-conditioning system, make sure it is blowing out cool air as you may not have had on the AC in a while. If the air-con is not cold enough you may need to get an professional to check the refrigerant levels. Its as easy as going to your local mechanic or Halfords and get them to top up with new air-con gas.

Temperature gauge:

When taking a road trip this year, make sure that you keep an eye on the car’s temperature gauge as you can easily forget to check it from time to time. A lot of pressure can be put on the engine in warmer conditions during summer time so ensure your engine doesn’t overheat!  


Be sure to always check your lights before setting off on a journey to ensure all lights are working – parking, dim, full, fog and brake lights.

Headlamp Beam Benders:

A very import thing to remember if you are driving on the continent, that you have your headlights adjusted so as not to blind continental drivers as the beams are positioned for driving on the left here.

Irish and UK vehicles are designed for driving on the left-hand side of the road. This means when you use your vehicle in countries where you drive on the right (most of Europe), you will dazzle oncoming drivers at night.

If you're driving to the Continent then you must adjust the headlight beam pattern to suit driving on the right so that the dipped beam doesn't dazzle oncoming drivers. You will need to fit a set of headlamp beam converters.

These self-adhesive masks blank out the part of the beam which could dazzle oncoming drivers. If your car has twin headlights, you need only mask the outer pair. Some more modern cars have special clear lenses or projector lights, which will need the masks to be fitted in a particular way - refer to the headlamp converter instructions.

Never go abroad to Europe without adjusting the headlamp pattern of your vehicle as it is a compulsory requirement in most countries. Remember to remove the headlamp converters as soon as you return to Ireland.

Essential items for your boot:

  • 1 Litre Oil Top-Up

  • Tyre Inflator

  • Spare Tyre

  • Lock Nut Wheel Key

  • Extendable Wheel Brace

  • Jack

  • First Aid Kit

  • Warning Triangle

  • Hi-Vis bibs

  • Bottle of Water

  • Tyre Weld Puncture Repair

  • Tow Rope

  • Jump Leads/Jump Starter

Non-Essential Items for Your Boot:

  • Umbrella

  • Boot Protector

  • Jerry Can

  • Duck Tape

  • WD40

  • Spare Fuses

  • Baby Wipes

  • Gloves

  • Blanket

  • Torch

  • Shopping Bags

  • Multi-Tool Kit

  • Sunscreen


Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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