Avoid car catastrophes- know before you go.

We seem to be slightly doomed when it comes to holidays. I wrote recently about health-related disasters which always seem to strike within hours of arriving at our destination. Today I am going to share our car catastrophes which probably could have been avoided with some forward planning.

Our first ever people carrier was an ancient model but with our family growing rapidly it was an essential. There weren't many manufacturers making seven seaters back then so it was quite hard to find one at a price we could afford.

We should have had an inkling that it maybe wasn't the best buy when the first time we took it through a car wash it leaked like a sieve. We all got soaked! But other than the car's inability to keep jet wash water out it seemed to meet all our other needs.

holiday with car

We booked a ferry and a mobile home in France with the intention of taking the children to Disneyland Paris. The car got us to our holiday park but in the queue into Disneyland it started overheating. Luckily we had some bottled water in the car so we topped up the water and made it to the theme park then back to our caravan.

Disneyland Paris
The next day we were heading back to the ferry and the car kept losing water. We stopped at a supermarket and bought more bottled water - a posh brand as it happened as it was on special offer. In between coasting down hills and adding water frequently we made it onto the ferry and back onto British soil were our recovery insurance kicked in!

A few years later with a slightly newer people carrier we headed to the south coast where a kind friend had offered to let us house-sit giving us and the children a holiday. We had a lovely time - crabbing, building sandcastles, eating ice cream.....then the car started playing up.

We reluctantly located a garage (funds as always were very tight) where we heard the devastating news that the head gasket was done for. There were many tears. My cousin and his family came to to the rescue, even buying us a cream tea to cheer us up then our vicar and her family drove down in convoy to pick us up as the work was going to take a long time and we needed to be back at work.

Now. The moral of the story is probably best summed up in one of my granny's old sayings.

A stitch in time saves nine.

We thought by neglecting the cars and hoping for the best we would save money but in actual fact if we'd had them checked over before we left we might have avoided the problem getting bigger and more expensive!

Places like www.kwik-fit.com offer car safety checks and service packages which are ideal for a vehicle health check, important at any time but vital if you are taking your car on a longer journey then usual.

Take it from me - even if there's bad news it's much better to hear it near your home with time to sort issues before your trip then on a French motorway or in an unfamiliar town where you have no real idea of the reliability of the mechanic you've found at short notice!

Know before you go and