Drivers prioritise picnics over car prep for summer road trips

Man pushing broken down car

At the height of summer, when many families come together for their annual getaway, recovery drivers often find themselves with a little more work on their hands. As it turns out, this could be because the cars are getting a little less attention than the holiday planning itself.

New research has revealed that British drivers are more likely to prepare a picnic for their long journey than check their car can handle the distance. This means that simple maintenance checks such as checking the oil level or the tyre pressures often go amiss.
According to car hire firm Europcar, only 1 in 10 drivers of drivers of cars aged six years or older will get their car serviced before a long trip, but 56 per cent will prepare a packed lunch for the journey. A surprising statistic, since 44 per cent of those drivers claim that breaking down is their second biggest worry, after traffic.

As reported by Motoring Research, the average car on UK roads is now seven years old, meaning the risk of having to pull over onto the hard shoulder is even higher. This isn't good news for the four in five motorists who aren't covered by roadside assistance.

While the drivers who do put a little more thought into their road trip will make minor pre-journey checks, it's surprising to learn that only eight in 10 will check the fuel level, but will barely give the water coolant or bulbs a second thought.

Ken McCall, managing director of Europcar UK, is reported to have said: "It's clear from our research that breaking down is a major concern for drivers, but it seems that many take long trips in older vehicles without doing some of the basic car maintenance checks.

"Our research revealed that the top three car checks before a long journey are fuel (82 per cent), tyres (65 per cent) and windscreen wash (64 per cent).

"Checking the engine oil is topped up (63 per cent) came lower than checking the windscreen wash."

Do you check your car is in full working order ahead of a long journey? Let us know in the comments below.
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