The summer days may be light and, hopefully, will continue to be warm and sunny, but while the weather may not be a threat to road travel, poor car maintenance may well be.

Most people like to take a summer holiday and that can mean driving long distances across the country.

However, a Motor Ombudsman study conducted by YouGov has found that 49 per cent of drivers who have taken their car on holiday do not personally check their vehicle before setting off.

Overall, 13 per cent do absolutely nothing to have their car assessed, whereas 33 per cent leave the checks to a personal contact or a mechanic.

The poll showed that older drivers are much less cavalier about this issue, with 86 per cent ensuring their cars get checked out. Similar proportions of people in Wales and the Midlands make sure everything is in working order before setting off.

Of those who failed to personally check their car over before travelling, 68 per cent said they did not think this was necessary and 22 per cent admitted they did not know how to.

Chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman Bill Fennell said it is wise to get a car checked by an expert before driving away on a break.

He said: “With cars becoming increasingly complex as technology evolves, it can be daunting for some to peer under the bonnet and to determine whether their vehicle is fit for their holiday."  

Mechanical failure while driving off on holiday can be a nightmare scenario, as it could badly disrupt the trip itself, perhaps including knock-on effects such as a missed ferry ride, or leave the motorists and their families stranded out in the countryside miles from a garage.

Even when people have equipment with them to carry out repairs such as changing a tyre, only 18 per cent of those polled said they would be confident about using it, rather than calling out a roadside assistance firm.

Among the recommended steps for every motorist before they set off on a long journey are checking the water and tyre pressure.

'Ben Robb, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, adds: "It is always a very wise move to get your car checked up before going on holiday. Failing to do so could leave you with an easily-avoided headache."

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