Traveling with your own car opens up a lot of freedom, as you can usually take considerably more luggage with you on vacation and can easily stop off at places that particularly appeal to you during the journey to or from your destination. To ensure that you arrive safely on vacation by car and can fully enjoy your free time, good preparation is the be-all and end-all. We explain to you what you should pay attention to when planning your vacation with the passenger car.
- Check oil level yourself and look for oil change
- Tire check before starting to travel with your own car
- Have the vehicle thoroughly checked beforehand from a technical point of view
- Correct loading of the vehicle
- Use a navigation device when traveling by car
- Use of radar detectors
- Vacation with the car: Insurance
- Other countries – other customs – other traffic rules respectively. Regulations
Going on vacation by car:
Check oil level yourself and look for oil change
Before traveling with your own car, you should also check the oil level in any case. In order for the measurement to be correct, the vehicle's engine should be warm and the car should be parked on a level surface. The oil level must be between the min and max marks on the dipstick.
If there is too little oil in the engine, you should fill up the oil in stages to avoid "dangerous" overfilling (too much oil also harms the engine). Please be sure to note which engine oil specifications (z.B. 10W-40) of the vehicle manufacturer and select a suitable oil for your car.
If you want to cover a very long distance with the vehicle resp. If you are going to be on the road for several weeks with your car, you should check when the last oil change was carried out. In most cases, a small workshop plate attached to the filler neck of the engine provides information about the last oil change. Alternatively, you can find the date of the last change in the service booklet of the car. If the oil needs to be changed, it is advisable to have it done before the start of the journey. You can usually avoid having to top up the oil if you do it in good time.
tire check before starting the journey with your own passenger car
Before a long trip with the car (abroad) you should also check the tires in advance. There are special tools for checking the tire profile. You can also simply use a 1-euro coin from your wallet. If you put the Euro coin into the tire groove and the golden edge disappears completely in it, the tire still has enough tread (about 3.5 mm).
By the way, the legally prescribed minimum tread depth for passenger car tires is 1.6 mm. However, it is better to start a longer vacation trip with such a low profile.
When you check the tires on your car, you should also check the spare tire or. Inspect spare wheel.
If you carry a tire sealant in the car, check its durability. Most products do not last longer than four years and there is a clumping of the latex contained, which makes the means unusable. Replace the sealant if necessary. by a new one, in order to be on the safe side.
Car vacation: Have the vehicle thoroughly checked beforehand from a technical point of view
Before you go on a long trip with your car, you should have the technology of the car checked. Many workshops and test organizations such as the GTu offer a special vacation check for a flat rate of between €15 and €50. As part of this technical examination by a specialist, usually u.a. The battery, the electrical system, the braking system and the lighting system are inspected. When the car is checked, the coolant is usually checked, as well as the V-belt and, if necessary, the belt. Timing belt. Furthermore, a short test drive is often included in the scope of services of a travel vehicle inspection.
The scope of the vacation check can vary, which also explains the wider price range. Look in advance at the different offers for a vacation check of the car and compare services and prices with each other.
If defects are detected during the check of the car, they can usually be fixed directly in the workshop. Here you should clarify before testing whether and if so, which repairs may be carried out without further consultation with you.
Safely on vacation by car: Correct loading of the vehicle
If you travel by car, you are usually traveling with some luggage. When loading the trunk, pack heavy items of luggage all the way to the bottom. Ideally, this is done so that the suitcases and items are directly against the back of the rear seat. Then you can pile lighter luggage on it, making sure that nothing can slip during the journey.
Please do not put heavy things on the parcel shelf: Even in an accident at a low speed of 50 km/h, any loose object becomes up to 30 times heavier and can thus become a dangerous projectile with unforeseeable consequences.
If you want to use a roof box for your luggage, put long and bulky things there in the first place. Make sure, however, that these are not too severe. On longer trips you should use the breaks in between to regularly check the fastening of the carrier. To protect against thieves, you should lock the roof rack.
Do not overload vehicle: When fully loading the vehicle, please ensure that the permissible total weight (as stated in the vehicle documents) is not exceeded. Also take into account the weights of the people travelling with you. If the car is overloaded, this has a negative effect on the driving behavior and, in addition, damage to the car can occur.
Adjust tire pressure: Also remember that if the car is fully loaded, you must increase the tire pressure. Information on this can usually be found on a sticker attached to the car or in the owner's manual for the vehicle.
Navigation device when traveling by car
If you are traveling with a mobile navigation device, you should make sure in advance that the device or the navigation system is not damaged. the map material is up to date. Also check that the country or countries you intend to travel to with your car are available on the navigation device and load if necessary. missing map material before the vacation after. In the case of chargeable updates or maps, you should check whether it is not ultimately cheaper to buy a new navigation device with up-to-date data.
If you use your smartphone for navigation, you should ideally use an app that has an offline mode. This will help you avoid large data transfers when traveling abroad.
Travel safely by car: Use of radar detectors
In most countries in Europe the use of special radar warning devices is prohibited. If you violate it, you have to expect high fines and the confiscation of the device. In extreme cases, a violation can also result in a prison sentence. Accordingly, it is better to do without radar detectors in the car altogether.
The police, on the other hand, usually tolerate the use of lightning warnings on smartphones or navigation devices, because these usually do not specifically warn of radar systems, but merely point out a danger zone.
Vacation with the car: Insurance
If a car accident occurs in another European country, the German liability insurance will normally cover it. As a rule, in most EU countries you do not need a special certificate or a licence. no more documents.
However, if you are traveling by car to Eastern Europe, Russia or Turkey, you still need the so-called green card. This is issued to you free of charge by your car insurance company and is usually also handed out directly when the contract is concluded.
In the event of a car accident with an opponent from an EU country, the license plate number of the other party is usually sufficient to find out their insurance company.
If you are involved in an accident abroad without being at fault and the damage is only partially compensated or compensated with a long delay, the German comprehensive insurance (if available) will normally step in. The comprehensive insurance also covers damage to your own car if you were the cause of the accident.
Tip: Take a European accident report (download here) with you on your vacation trip. This will help you keep a clean record in the event of an accident.
If you want to be well insured in case of a car breakdown, you should take care of a car insurance policy. This can be part of the car insurance or a benefit in connection with the membership in an automobile club such as the ADAC.
Other countries – other customs – other traffic rules respectively. Regulations
Before starting your journey, be sure to find out about the regulations in the countries you intend to drive in. There are big differences especially concerning the obligation to wear a safety vest. Thus one must z.B. in the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland or Switzerland do not have a high-visibility vest on board at all, while z.B. in Great Britain, Spain or the Czech Republic, high-visibility vests must be available for all vehicle occupants. In other countries such as.B. Austria, France or Belgium, a single high-visibility vest (for the driver) is sufficient. Violations are sometimes punished with high fines.
In some countries, you must also have your car lights on during the day. This applies z.B. to Denmark, Switzerland or Poland. In other countries, however, there is no light obligation at all and other countries have regulated the light obligation in a more difficult way, e.g. in Germany.B. In Italy, where it is mandatory to turn on the lights only on highways and out of town, or in Croatia, where the lights are mandatory only in the dark season (October to March).
In addition, there are still various special regulations in some countries. One of the best known is probably the obligation to carry breathalyzers in France.