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Before you pack up and head for the family for Christmas, there are few things that will keep you safe on the roads that take 5 minutes, but can be the difference between having a wonderful time, and it being the worst Christmas ever. Let’s jump in with the biggest one by far – your tyres. 

Since your tyres are what connect your two tonne car hurtling down the road to terra firma, it’s best they are in good condition and properly inflated. If you don’t have any tools yourself, don’t worry. Head to your nearest petrol station and drop up to a quid in the air machine and top up your tyres to the right pressure. Not sure where to find the right pressure? Well for starters 32 PSI is a safe average for most cars, but you’ll want to find the little plaque that’s normally on a door or in the door jam to find out what’s best for your car in particular.

Once they are all topped up, give the tread a little look. You are looking for the bands that run around the circumference of the tyre – my tyres have three, and inside those grooves are little bumps at regular intervals. Those are the wear limit markers, so what you want to see is that they are nowhere near the same height as the rest of the tyre. If they are close to, or flush with, the outside face of the tyre you will want to replace them before travelling. Worn tyres can’t evacuate water nearly as well, and generally can’t grip the road as well, so it’s time to get them changed. It is worth checking the general condition of the tyres too, you’re looking for cracking, cuts, punctures or bulges. Any of those and it’s time to replace them. 

Something else that’s both crucial and remarkably easy to do is checking all the car’s fluids. Pop your bonnet with the latch in either the driver or passenger’s footwell, then the secondary latch at the front of the car, then look for your oil dipstick. Get a piece of kitchen towel and when you pull it out, wipe the end off then put it all the way back in. Pull it back out again, then check that the level is between the minimum and maximum lines. If it’s low, top it off. 

Take a look at your coolant bottle – you should be able to see through it to the minimum and maximum lines (unless it’s a BMW because they hate the people that buy their cars). Again make sure that’s at the right level. While you’re at it, top up your windscreen washer fluid with some pre-mix. It helps a lot when driving on mucky motorways! This might also seem like an obvious one, but make sure you have plenty of fuel. If you get stuck for any reason, the more fuel you have the more you can keep yourself warm. Equally it means you won’t run out and get stranded!

Something else you might want to swap out is your wiper blades. Especially for rainy driving in the dark, good wiper blades make a massive difference. They are really easy to replace if you need to, in my case it’s just a little push tab then they slide out, or my back window just clips straight in. 

It’s also worth checking your lights to make sure they are all working – including and especially your brake lights. Get a friend to help or reverse your car up to a wall and at night you’ll clearly see if any are out. Remember to check your fog lights too just in case.

One last thing to do is stick an extra bottle of water, some cereal bars and a blanket in the boot just in case you do get stuck somewhere. It’s not hard to do but can make a big difference if you do need it. 

And finally, have a great Christmas!



I have a passion for cars, driving, working on them and talking about them. Anything fast or electric, is fair game. Own an Audi S4 B8.5 & an SV650S.

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