Do-it-yourself is possible, with some basic notions ...
Car check and holidays. Levels of oil is water, tires, wheels, brakes, lights, battery, shock absorbers, air conditioning, carrycots for babies and child seats are the controls that can not miss thecar before you hit the road. A peaceful holiday begins with a safe journey and the state ofcar, when you can't do without it, is one of the first things to worry about. A car in order and loaded correctly consumes less fuel, and if you follow the advice on good driving behavior, the savings on a long journey can be significant.
This is the period in which the car manufacturers, and maybe even the mechanic under the house, propose summer coupons to tempting pieces. It is certainly the case to evaluate these offers, sometimes very convenient, but remembering that the do-it-yourself is within everyone's reach, all you need is some basic information.
Oil and water. The first thing to check in order not to get stuck are the oil and water levels in the engine. The oil level can be easily checked using the dipstick which plugs into the engine, if missing it must be added. It is good to know that if the right oil is not used, the engine will be damaged and the filters will become clogged. It is better to follow the instructions given in the maintenance booklet, bearing in mind that topping up does not replace the periodic oil change, which must be done as often as indicated in the booklet.
The level of the radiator coolant and that of the brake oil in the special tank, without forgetting the washer fluid and the sealing of the rubber sleeves. One more look at the straps and battery terminals and the do-it-yourself operation with the hood open can be said to be over.
Tires and wheels. Turning to the tires, the thickness of the tread must first be checked, which by law cannot be less than 1.6 mm (the fine is 78 euros). The pressure of the tires affects the consumption, the flat tire produces more friction and consumes more, and must be checked when cold. The correct value is indicated in the maintenance booklet, bearing in mind that at full load it is advisable to increase by 0.2 / 0.3 bar. Winter tires in summer are no less safe, but they wear out much more because the softer compound remains on the asphalt: keeping them mounted is not convenient. Finished with the tires, the wheel bolts must be checked, which must be well tightened.
Brakes and shock absorbers. The quality of the braking is evaluated in operation by evaluating the sinking of the pedal, the stopping distance and any noise from the wheels. It may be time for periodic replacement of pads or, less frequent, of discs. To understand the state of the shock absorbers, the bodywork is pushed down, front and rear: if the car returns to normal height without jolts, the situation is ok.
Air conditioning and strollers. Check the condition of the air conditioner (recharge, pollen filter and fan) and the tightness of carrycots and strollers when babies or children travel in the car: always make sure that they are fastened to the seat belts or, where present, to the Isofix connection. The correct housing is on the rear seat.
Equipment and lights. Remember the warning triangle and the reflective jacket, required by law (the fine in both cases is 38 euros and 2 points on the license). Also remember to check the correct operation of all lights, including the stops.
The load. Traveling at 120 km / h with a bulky roof load consumes up to 40% more fuel. The aerodynamic boxes help, but not too much and on arrival they must be disassembled and avoided in small movements. The weights must be balanced in the car and the windows kept closed during the journey - much better the air conditioning - because they increase the resistance to progress and fuel consumption rises, especially above 80 km / h.
The guide. Traveling at 100 km / h instead of 130 km / h on the motorway saves 2 liters of fuel per 100 km. Shifting up a gear quickly and preventing the engine from revving up also helps save money.