Festival season: how to prepare your car

This summer, RAC and WiseDriving are bringing you top tips if you’re heading to one of the UK’s many festivals. From getting there safely to avoiding getting stuck in a muddy field on the way home, if you’re driving to a festival, this guide can help. Firstly, we’re covering all the essentials you need to pack before you leave, in order to make sure you can survive the journey, as well as the duration of the festival.

20 things to pack in your car

The top thing to pack is, of course, your tickets. You wouldn’t believe the number of people that leave that at home and have a mad dash panic to go back and get them (if you’re close enough to dash back that is). So make sure they are packed safely, ready for the festival.  Some festivals also require a separate parking pass to the entrance tickets, so, if this is the case, make sure you have this with you in the car.

Along with the obvious essentials for a festival, such as a tent, sleeping bag, roll mat, spare clothes and toiletries, here are 20 more things worth thinking about:
  1. Ground sheet and canopy
  2. Bin bags
  3. Water bottle
  4. Folding trolley
  5. Dry shampoo
  6. Torch
  7. Toilet roll
  8. Hand gel
  9. Medication/first aid kit
  10. Wet wipes
  11. Waterproofs
  12. Emergency food
  13. Earplugs
  14. Hat
  15. Wellies
  16. ID
  17. Sun cream
  18. Mobile phone and charger/powerbank (on the move charging)
  19. Backpack
  20. Towing rope
 
Packing your car

Now you’ve looked at what you may or may not need to take with you, you need to know how to pack the car. Of course, it goes without saying that if you need something close by on the journey, pack it close to you or a passenger to save you having to pull over to get to something.

Start by laying out all the items you want to pack so you can have a first glance and check it’s actually going to fit. When you start to pack, place the heaviest items at the back of the boot, nearest the rear passenger seats. This will spread the weight and create a safer, more balanced driving experience.

Packing things higher than the level of the rear passenger seat headrests is dangerous as it blocks your rear view and may become even more dangerous under braking, so keep it level.

If you arrive in the dark, either at night or really early morning, make sure your torch is powered up, close by and ready to go!

How to prepare your car

There are a few preventative measures you can take before leaving for the festival to give you a better chance of ensuring your car doesn't suffer a breakdown en-route or while you're there.

Batteries are the number one cause of summer breakdowns, and the chances are a few will be caused by headlights or interior lights left on, or a battery that cannot cope with being left parked in a field for a few days. Avoid a problem by getting the battery checked prior to setting off for a festival and replacing it before the long trip. As a rule of thumb, a battery should be replaced every three years.

A trip to a festival could highlight problems with your tyres, so get them checked out before you enter the site. Look for cracked or aged rubber, and ensure that your spare tyre is legal and inflated to the correct pressure. If your car is full of passengers and luggage, be sure to adjust the tyre pressures before you leave.
All that traffic heading into the festival site is likely to put a strain on your clutch. If it feels heavy, has a high biting point or slips when you accelerate, it may need replacing. If it’s displaying these warning signs before the festival, it is unlikely to cope with the congestion.

You might also experience a problem with the alternator, with hot weather and excessive demand from electrical items highlighting any weaknesses. If the red battery light is flickering or fully illuminated stop and call a breakdown provider such as the RAC. It won’t be an immediate fix, but a patrol will be able to tow the car to a local garage for it to carry out the necessary repairs.

Following these tips should help you to get to the festival in one piece. Keep an eye out for our guides on how to drive to the festival safely and how to avoid common issues when it comes to the return journey soon for even more festival season tips.

Posted on June 7, 2018

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