Summer is around the corner. It’s the perfect time for long drives in the country with friends and loved ones. If you’re planning on taking a trip a bit further out than you normally would, it’s always a good idea to do a few simple checks to ensure your car is in great working order. The last thing you want is a breakdown in the middle of a country road where help is far away. It’s best to be well-prepared and ensure that you and your family are always safe on the road, no matter how far your journey will be. With this in mind, below, you’ll find our quick-check guide that takes you through a few of the essentials you should check before any long trip during the summer. Let’s get started.

How to prepare your car for a long journey during summer?

Checking your car’s health before any long trip during the summer months is essential. Here are a few practical tips we present that you can do yourself.


Check that you have a valid Ministry of Transport (MOT) certificate. This is not only a legal requirement for all vehicles in the United Kingdom (UK). It’s also your assurance that your car is in good working order and that it’s been checked and given the green light for your road trip.


Tyres are something you can easily check yourself. Firstly, check tread depth for better road grip. The minimum tread depth is 1.6 mm and you can check this with a 20p coin. Next is the tyre pressure. Check this in your car’s owner’s manual on the side of the door of the car. Ensuring your tyre pressure is good is an important way to ensure that your tyres don’t get worn out unnecessarily. Finally, check your wheel alignment. To do this, drive on a straight road and see if the car is pulling you in either a left or right direction. If it is, you’ll need to have your wheels aligned to ensure less tyre damage.


The battery is often found under the hood of most vehicles. Check it for any leaks and, if necessary, you may wish to top it up with distilled water (if serviceable). Important to note is that regular tap water will cause harm to your battery so be sure to use the right water type in your battery.

Air conditioning:

Your car’s air conditioning system should work optimally during summer to keep you and your passengers cool. However, if it malfunctions or stops working, you may find yourselves sweltering in the summer heat. This can be quite uncomfortable, especially if you have young children in the car with you. For this reason, you need to check both the air conditioner’s filter and check for leaks. If there’s a leak or the AC is not cooling enough it is a sign it needs to be serviced.

Fluid levels:

You will also want to check all your fluid levels. This means engine oil, coolant levels, wiper fluids, etc. Making sure your fluids are topped up will result in a smoother journey with a lower chance of a breakdown or malfunction.

Lights functionality:

Ensuring that all your lights work is another essential. You can do this check alone or with a friend or relative. Simply ensure that each light is in working order, including brake lights, indicators, headlights, reverse lights, etc. Also check for brightness. Sometimes, dirt accumulates over the lights, making them shine less brightly than they should, thus reducing visibility.

Wiper blades:

In the UK, there’s always a chance that there may be rain. You need to be prepared for this eventuality. So, you need to check your wiper blades. Make sure that they aren’t cracked or damaged. Test them and see if they make a screeching noise against your windscreen or whether they leave streaks and blurs during use. You want to be sure that you have full visibility through your windscreen.

Emergency kit:

It’s always a good idea to double-check your emergency kit in the boot of your car. Make sure you have extra engine oil, just in case, water, and everything else that’s needed in case you have a blown out tyre or your car breaks down unexpectedly in the middle of nowhere

Sun protection:

When you’re driving and have young children in your car, you do not want to cause them irritability by directly exposing them to the sun. That’s why stick-on or roll-up sun shades for the backseat windows are a good idea. In addition, if you leave your car parked for some time, make sure you protect your dashboard, leather interior (if you have such) and your car in general by using a windscreen shield.

Interior and exterior cleaning:

Finally, make sure that you give your car a good clean both on the inside and the outside so that your car looks its best. For the exterior, we recommend waxing because it will preserve the paintwork and will ensure that no matter how much dust or natural elements your car is exposed to during a trip, it will not be damaged.

Bonus tip:

If you are wondering how I can make my car cool in the summer, the answer is to ensure your air conditioning system is in excellent working order. It’s also advisable to avoid idling your car for prolonged periods of time, such as during traffic. And if you are curious about whether you should leave car windows open when it’s hot, the answer is that it depends on you. However, to improve internal air circulation, we advise leaving it slightly open.

What’s next?

For those of you who don’t have the time or knowledge to take care of these aspects, make sure you turn to the experts to get your car trip-ready. At The Motor Company, you can be certain that we can assist you with every aspect of your vehicle’s preparation for your road trip. Simply get in touch with us!