Are you also going on vacation with your car this year? With this checklist, you can easily and quickly prepare your car for your next vacation, avoid unpleasant surprises and simply relax.
If you drive long distances, you should check whether your vehicle needs to be checked within a thousand kilometers or whether, for example, the toothed belt needs to be changed. Even if maintenance or repairs involve costs, it’s a good idea to play it safe and address these issues before your vacation. After all, workshop costs are generally no less abroad and are associated with a high organizational effort.
Air conditioning and temperature control
It’s a good idea to check the coolant or top up your vehicle’s coolant so that it can withstand the summer heat, especially if it’s been a while since the last check or if the cooling is already quite low.
The more crowded the vehicle, the more important it is that the brakes work perfectly. If your brakes seem slow, you should have them checked. After all, the brakes are one of the most important components of a vehicle’s safety.
Do you have enough tires for the entire trip? If the tread is less than 3 mm or if the tires already have cracks, this indicates that you absolutely need new tires. Depending on where you’re going on vacation and the weather conditions there, it can be very important, especially at very high temperatures, to have a good tread pattern to keep your car on the road safely.
Shock absorber and suspension
Especially on long trips with heavy loads, you should have the shocks and suspension checked before you start your trip if you are unsure and feel they may not be quite where they should be.
High visibility vests for all passengers in the car
In many European countries, such as Germany, you are obliged to wear high-visibility vests in your car. These must be marked with the EN 471 class 2 standard. In some countries, you only have to wear one vest for the driver, while other countries require one for each passenger in the vehicle. It is therefore preferable to have one for each person. Find out about the rules that apply in the country you wish to travel to.
Check to see if you have a warning triangle in your car and if it is functional. In some countries, you may even need to carry two warning triangles with you when towing a caravan or trailer. In Turkey, for example, you must always carry two warning triangles, regardless of the type of vehicle.
Some countries require that you have a fire extinguisher in your vehicle. These are Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria.
First aid equipment
In many countries, it is mandatory to have a first aid kit in the vehicle. This applies in particular to Austria and the Czech Republic. Therefore, before leaving, check whether you have a first aid kit in your car and whether it is still valid.
If you wish to travel to large German cities where there are several low-emission zones, you should attach an Environmental Badge or Fine Dust Sticker to your windshield. Otherwise you will be fined. Also check to see if your route has any toll roads for which you must obtain a Toll Sticker. This often happens in Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Croatia, for example. However, the toll sticker requirement is also posted on the highway, which means that if you drive carefully, you can buy a toll sticker on the highway in case of an emergency.
Roadside Assistance and Automobile Insurance Coverage
In case of a breakdown, it is good to be covered. It can quickly become expensive if you have to pay for everything out of your own pocket, especially if you’re not close to home at the moment and the car has to be transported. It’s best to carry with you contact information and an emergency checklist so that you have all the numbers handy and know what to do in case of damage or accident.
You should check these points before you start your trip
Are you already covered by your breakdown insurance? Was there a corresponding service in connection with the purchase of your car? The extent of coverage is also important, so that you know how to behave in the event of a breakdown. If you are not covered or if the insurance only covers mechanical breakdowns, it is best to ask for a quote for a cover note including the breakdown service. Choose the package that is right for you. There are basic packages with nationwide roadside assistance. Often, your car will be driven to the nearest garage and not to your own mechanic. But there are also more expensive packages. These packages can include Europe-wide roadside assistance, transportation of your car to the workshop of your choice and much more. This last point should be taken into consideration if you travel frequently with your car. If you want to be sure, you can also have your car checked at a garage.