Eight car checks you need to do NOW because motorists risk a Christmas breakdown nightmare

DRIVING home for Christmas is set up to be stressful enough, but breaking down on the road isn’t exactly the icing on the cake.

With UK roads set to be bumper-to-bumper in the run-up to Christmas this week, give yourself your best chance against a flurry of emissions splashing on the road.

UK roads are set to get tougher so give yourself the best chance for a good ride


UK roads are set to get tougher so give yourself the best chance for a good ride

RAC incident spokesman Rod Dennis said: “As well as adding to traffic jams, a single incident has the potential to ruin Christmas.

“Popular days to travel are often busy days for breakdowns, so following our advice to avoid breakdowns in the first place is arguably more important than ever this year. “

Here are eight auto checks you must make before you set off.

Charge your battery

Checking the battery is always important when servicing your vehicle, but especially in cold weather or when your vehicle is not being used regularly.

The AA says more than a quarter of crashes (27%) last winter were the direct result of problems with car batteries.

So for the sake of you and everyone else on the UK’s tight roads this week, check to see if you’ve got a lot of charge.

You can do this by opening the bonnet and attaching a multimeter to your battery – this meter will measure 12.6V or more.

Most mechanics also offer a quick, inexpensive way to check batteries.

And if you drive an electric car, battery will last 10 to 20 years before it needs to be replaced.

Refill your engine oil

According to the RAC, one in three cars inspected by mechanics in the UK has “dangerously low” oil levels.

That could cause major engine damage or failure midway through your trip.

The two-minute check is easy to do and requires no expert help.

Just pull out your car’s oil dipstick and – if it’s below the line mark – refill your oil.

Add cleaner to your screen cleaner

Winter brings the supply of so much Tips to deal with a cold windshield – ignore them.

It’s best to de-icing your windshield the old-fashioned way – with a good ice scraper and some de-icing liquid mixed into your screen cleaner.

This will ensure your windshield doesn’t freeze in sub-zero temperatures.

Pouring boiling water over the glass can cause it to crack or break, and can cost you hundreds of pounds or even be fined if you drive with impaired vision.

Inflate your tires

In the UK and Europe it is the law to properly inflate tires to a tread depth of 1.6mm.

And during the winter months you should go for a minimum spike depth of 3mm.

It’s a route to sensible driving – and a way to avoid fines of up to £2,500 per tire if they don’t comply with the law.

Tires also need to be properly inflated, or you could slip or be unable to stop on wet or icy roads.

Find out your tire pressure by checking the gas machine at the gas station.

It will also be listed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual and most often on the driver’s doorstep.

Wipers cannot be faulty

Snow, ice and grit can not only damage your windshield wipers, but also affect your visibility on the road.

Run your fingers along the blades looking for any splits – if you find any, it’s best to replace them as soon as possible before they cause damage.

Plus, driving with broken wipers can land you a £50 fine.

Cool your engine

Engine coolant is one of the most important components of your car this winter.

It’s a mixture of water and antifreeze and is necessary to keep your engine from overheating on the road.

“This plays an important role in ensuring the engine runs at the right temperature,” advises the RAC.

“If it’s not between ‘minimum’ and ‘maximum’, this could be a sign of trouble, so contact a good garage immediately.”

That’s a simple dashboard warning light check for most vehicles.

You can also find out for yourself on the expansion tank under the bonnet.

Check your lights

With today’s shortest time, front and rear headlights are your best friend on the road.

Don’t forget to check your indicators are working as well and replace any bulbs that need changing.

And worse still, faulty headlights can cost motorists £100 on the spot.

Power up for a safe journey

Breaking in the middle of the road is bad enough.

But if it’s just because you’re out of fuel, your conversation with the mechanic can be pretty awkward.

And if you stop in the middle of a busy road, you might get slapped Unlimited fines and nine points on your license to drive dangerously.

So recharge early in your journey and don’t get left out in the cold.

UK motorways will be busier this week than at any time since 2015 as families flock home for Christmas.

Driving in the winter can be a challenge for an automatic or a manual transmission, so make sure you read our tips before you hit the road.

And here are our winter driving tips to avoid fines of up to £10,000.

Terrifying moment furious driving on the road chasing a car driver with a piece of his car after crashing into a high speed highway

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