If you, like the vast majority of French people, have decided to favor the car for your summer holiday, here is what you need to know to prepare for your departure.
La marseillaise à pétanque 2022, 61st edition of the world
Are you one of the 70% of French people who care about the condition of their vehicle a month before departure? Or the 17% who claim they do nothing at all before turning on?
In either case, if you are planning to go on vacation with your car, a summer check is essential to avoid the dreaded crash.
- Are your tires inflated enough?
Taking off with good shoes is the guarantee of safe driving, because a tire that is too low can cause you to lose traction. According to the specialist magazine Autoplus, this will also allow you to significantly reduce your fuel consumption.
Please note: The tire pressure must always be checked when it is cold. The manufacturer’s instructions are most often found in the driver’s interior, in the fuel filler flap or in the car’s instructions for use.
Good to know : Road safety recommends that you add 0.2 to 0.3 bar to the recommended pressures if the vehicle is heavily loaded.
- Are your wipers worn?
To calmly meet a good rainstorm, cost in good condition is crucial. Tip: If the rubber is hard, cracked or leaves marks on your windshield, then you will probably need to replace your wipers.
Good to know : If you decide to do it yourself, make sure you have the reference that matches the make and model of your car.
- Are the fluids level?
While you are running, also make sure that your washer fluid reservoir is full. You can also take a look at the oil and coolant levels. They are easily recognizable: in the first case, the meter is in the form of a long graduated rod that ends on the outside with a ring or a wide stopper, and in the second, the expansion vessel is in the form of a kind of vessel in which one can see by transparency a liquid.
Good to know : If you notice a lack of brake fluid, call a professional instead, as this may cause wear on the brake pads or discs.
- Is the air conditioner cooling properly?
If you have not changed refrigerant for two years and your air conditioner blows more hot air than cold, then a short visit to your garage is in order, in the hope that you will find space during this period of very strong activity for the profession.
Good to know : before the big departures, many car centers and workshops offer promotions on air-conditioning charging packages.
- Does your lighting work properly?
If they are dirty, your lights and headlights can reduce lighting efficiency by 30%! Check their purity and the condition of your position, low or high beam, stop lights and indicators. Remember to bring a box of bulbs if you need to replace one of your lights.
Good to know : Although you can no longer change your own bulbs on most vehicles, the presence of a box on board is still mandatory in the eyes of the law.
- Travel easily to consume less
Take the essentials, or at least what you really need during your stay. You have fewer things to stuff in your hairstyle and you will run less loaded. This will help reduce your fuel consumption. Know that too the heavier your vehicle, the greater the braking distance. It will therefore be necessary to increase the safety distances.
Good to know : Note, the load must not exceed the total permissible weight (PTAC) indicated on the gray card (not more than 3.5 tonnes anyway for holders of certificate B). A loaded vehicle must not exceed 2.55 meters in width and exceed more than 3 meters at the rear of the vehicle (or its trailer). The fine can be up to € 1,500.
- Methodical storage: the most bulky luggage at the bottom
If you can, read the luggage the night before. Continue methodically and without getting upset. Like a giant Tetris game, place the large suitcases first, at the bottom of the trunk. Backpacks, sports bags, towels and pillows can be wedged between suitcases. Put the most important at the end so that it is easily accessible.
Good to know : Be careful to balance the weight well to avoid major tire wear (at the rear, for example, with the weight of the luggage).
- And what can we put in the cabin?
Only place lightweight, low-volume items on the packing shelf that do not reduce your visibility, such as jackets. Road safety recommends securing the load properly in the boot and in the cabin.
Good to know : No heavy objects in the cabin. At the slightest sudden deceleration, a simple small object (such as a bottle of water) can turn into a dangerous projectile and seriously injure a passenger.
- Think about the necessary equipment and documents
In addition to the safety vest (CE marking) and the warning triangle, which must be on board and within reach, do not take the road without proper paperwork: gray card, driver’s license, maintenance book, certificate insurance and up-to-date technical inspection (sticker on the windscreen for vehicles over 4 years)
For yes, losing your keys on the beach or forgetting them in the campsite bar can happen to anyone. So remember to throw a spare key in the suitcase.
Traffic jams, breakdowns or journeys that last forever, you will no doubt be happy to have a small “survival kit” with a bottle of water, some biscuits, a phone charger, a blanket or even a first aid kit.