Planning a long car journey this Christmas? If so, you're not alone. Millions of Britons will embark on road trips over the festive period to celebrate with friends and relatives, with many of us driving home for Christmas, to catch up with our loved ones

Family about to go on Christmas car trip

Start Rescue sees a spike in breakdowns each winter, when inclement weather such as ice, frost and snow causes everything from battery faults to tyre problems.

Having the best breakdown cover ensures you are always covered when on the road. But it’s best to take steps to try and avoid being faced with any issues on your drive home this Christmas, before you set off.

We've put together a list of essential checks to carry out before you leave, giving you the best chance of having a trouble-free trip. After all, we want your Christmas travel to go safely and smoothly, so you don’t miss out on the chance to enjoy Christmas to the fullest!



Battery faults are one of the biggest breakdown causes each winter.

As your battery ages it gets less efficient and can really struggle to hold charge in the cold temperatures.

If your battery is more than five years old, it's a good idea to book it into your garage for a replacement.



Roads get much busier during the Christmas period, so there's an increased chance of congestion.

The days leading up to Christmas tend to be the busiest on the road, making these far from the best time to drive during Christmas. Throngs of commuters on the road are joined by holiday traffic, not to mention the last minute Christmas shoppers.

If possible, it’s best to avoid travelling on these days and opt for a quieter time instead.

Always ensure your tank is at least a quarter full to prevent you getting stranded by the roadside, and take the opportunity to top up your fuel whenever you can.



When temperatures fall, water in your vehicle's system can freeze very quickly. To prevent this, regularly check your coolant levels.

Concentrated antifreeze will need to be added to water at a 1:1 ratio.

Car on snowy road


When driving in slippery or wet conditions, it's doubly important your tyres have at least 3mm of tread (the legal UK minimum). Also check your tyres are pressured to the manufacturer's guidelines.

If your tyres are a little old, now may be a sensible time to get replacements.



Your car can get a lot dirtier in winter - what with all the rain, sleet and snow - and all that mucky slush being thrown up against your vehicle. As such, it's important your lights are clean so they make your car as visible as possible.

Visibility is worsened by heavy rain and snow - not to mention the gloom of winter days - making it even more important you can be seen by other road users.



Use a 50/50 solution of water/screen wash to help ensure your windscreen doesn’t freeze over when temperatures plummet. Investing in a high quality screen wash is advisable.


Doors and locks

To prevent your doors and boot freezing over, apply a layer of Vaseline around the rubber seals.

To stop locks icing over, spray on a little WD40.

Happy mother with her children, closing the car boot

What emergency supplies should I pack when driving home for Christmas?

In case you suffer a roadside breakdown when driving home for Christmas, it's important you have some basic emergency supplies to ease the situation.

Your emergency supplies for your journey travelling home for Christmas, should include:

  • Your breakdown recovery service contact details
  • Smartphone
  • Smartphone charger
  • Snow shovel
  • Blankets
  • Salt/sand
  • Torch
  • Jump leads for your battery
  • De-icer and ice scraper
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Screen wash
  • First aid kit
  • Old carpet/cardboard to help free you from ice and snow


Consider booking your vehicle in for a check up

Other common winter breakdown causes relate to engine management problems, mechanical failures and electrical faults.

You may wish to consider booking your car in for a check before you begin your festive trip, giving you the best chance of having a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas!


Breakdown cover

At Start Rescue, we’re here to assist you in the event of a breakdown 24/7, every day of the year (Yes, even Christmas Day! – Reassuring for those who will be travelling on Christmas Day by car, van or motorbike) so why not get a quote for your breakdown cover today?