North East Connected

Staycation drivers under pressure

Majority of drivers don’t account for extra weight of holiday load – an average of 126kg

Kwik Fit has teamed up with SAS star to provide packing advice with the ultimate ‘boot-camp’ (video)

With forecasters predicting an improvement in the weather, and possibly even a heatwave in late August, many of those yet to begin their UK staycation will be looking forward to setting off for family time away.

However, new research shows that most drivers are not making the necessary checks to ensure their journey is trouble free. A study for Kwik Fit, the UK’s largest automotive servicing and repair company, reveals that only one in three drivers (32%) setting off on a family holiday adjusts their tyre pressure to allow for the extra weight of a full load.1 

The research found that families setting off for a UK holiday pack their car with an average of 2.3 suitcases, 2.4 items of hand luggage, 1.4 childcare items such as a pram or travel cot and 1.2 bicycles. This means that on average they are adding around 126kg to their car, even before accounting for other weighty items such as food, taken by 44% of staycationing families, or beer and wine, packed by 32%.

More than two thirds of drivers are therefore adding all this weight without making any adjustment to their tyre pressures, and of course, this extra load is in addition to having the whole family in the car. A fully laden car requires more fuel to move, even with tyres correctly inflated. However, the impact on fuel consumption is magnified by under inflated tyres as they have increased rolling resistance. Research has shown that an additional load of 45kg can reduce a car’s fuel economy by 1%, while a tyre underinflated by just 0.2 bar increases fuel consumption by 1%.2,3

Kwik Fit’s research also found that as well as forgetting to adjust the pressure of their tyres for the extra load, the vast majority of drivers are also neglecting the only part of their car which connects with the road. Only three in ten drivers (30%) say they check their tyre tread when going on a UK family holiday. This is especially concerning as many drivers will have got out of the habit of making regular checks during lockdown and it is therefore vital that they ensure their cars have a clean bill of health before heading off on their holiday journeys.

As well as making checks of tyres, oil, coolant, lights and screenwash, Kwik Fit advises drivers to be disciplined when considering what to actually pack. After its research found just how much families intended to load into their car, and that 76% of travelling Brits admit that at least a quarter of their luggage goes unused, the company teamed up with SAS star Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham to create the ultimate packing guide for the nation’s staycationers. 

Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham, SAS star, said: “During my training I have learned all manner of life skills, from hand-to-hand combat, building my own shelter and hunting for food. But each time I went on a mission – there were two vital things to consider. Firstly, always ensure your vehicle is in top condition before you hit the road. And secondly – it’s important to pack for the journey and to pack essentials. Failure to complete either will only slow you down.”

Roger Griggs, director of communications at Kwik Fit, said: “At a time when everyone’s focus should be on reducing emissions wherever possible, it’s vital that drivers ensure their car is running efficiently and this means adjusting to the circumstances of each journey. Increasing fuel consumption by a few percent might not seem much, but with British families expecting to travel an average of 323 miles on their UK holidays, the total extra fuel consumption from underinflated tyres will be significant.

“We urge drivers to check their pressures are correct for the car’s load – they will usually be able to find the recommended pressures on a sticker inside the drivers’ door. And it’s important not to take more than you need – drivers should check out Billy’s advice on packing and travel as light as possible.”

SAS star Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham’s advice can be found in this video and drivers can also and download the free Kwik Fit packing guide.

Kwik Fit offers a series of free vehicle inspections for added peace-of-mind, particularly for families about to head off on long drives for their summer staycations. Kwik Fit has over 600 centres located across the UK with most open 7 days a week. Drivers can book in this free vehicle check by visiting the Kwik Fit website.

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