When it comes to the summer season there’s no better way to explore the country than a good old British road trip. From idyllic Lake District up in the north to the rugged coastline of the south, you can create many great journeys from behind the steering wheel.
It’s not only important to care for your car during the winter months, the summer can also be tough on cars, especially during high temperatures when the heat can take its toll.
The air-con may not seem like a vital component to keeping your car safe to drive but in when you’re in built up areas and the sun is out, you will certainly need the air vents to keep you cool.
Manufacturers recommend that air-con systems are re-gassed every two years, so if you have an older car you might want to check you don’t have an overdue service.
Checking the air-con shouldn’t be reserved just for the summer either as you may cause damage to the washers and seals if the lubricant level gets low, plus over time the air-con system can lose refrigerant gas, especially if it isn’t used regularly.
Keeping cool in the summer time is important, and just like us our cars need the right fluid when it gets too hot to keep going. You need to ensure you check the level of coolant fluid in your car. Keep an eye out for leaks, especially at joints and connections points, you can also squeeze the hoses (when the engine is cool) every so often to make sure they feel firm.
It is also recommended that you perform preventative cooling system maintenance check on your car twice a year.
If you want to get the most from your summer drive, then you need an engine that’s fit enough to take you on your journey.
Oil is the integral life source that flows through your engine, so checking that your car’s oil level is the right level will help avoid irreparable damage and help you get the most miles out of it.
The oil lubricates the engine’s internal moving parts so keeping them clean and regularly topped up will prevent dirt building up and helps keep it from overheating. Checking the oil level is quick and easy and it’s best to check it roughly once a week.
Car batteries go through a lot of use during winter months and excessive temperatures can shorten its life if it’s not properly sealed as the electrolytes can evaporate quicker.
It’s wise to check the fluid level in the battery and top up with distilled water if necessary.
If you have a low maintenance (sealed) battery and don’t have filler caps then you don’t need to top it up however it’s still worth checking the battery for corrosion and leakage of battery acid.
Now it goes without saying but before you set off on that epic road trip, you’d be best to ensure your car tyres are in good shape.
Punctures are the most common cause of summer breakdown according to the AA as high temperatures often aggravate damage which may already be present. It is therefore important to monitor your tyre pressures by checking them every week, ensuring they comply with the manufacturers stated guidelines. If tyre pressures are dropping surprisingly quickly in one tyre it could be an indication of a slow puncture.
It is also not unheard of for a bit of rain to fall during the summer in the UK. Having a sufficient tyre tread depth this therefore vital; while 1.6mm is the minimum required by law, it’s recommended to have at least 3mm. This is important because tyre tread is used to disperse water which may be lying on the road surface; the deeper the tread, the more water that can be dispersed and the less likely you are to lose control of your vehicle.
Last but not least, and maybe the most important are the brakes. If you’re planning on getting to your holiday destination in your car, then ensuring your brakes are working correctly is important.
To guarantee this, it’s best to go to your local garage and instruct them to check your brake pads, discs and also the brake fluid levels – this should give you absolute peace of mind whilst you’re driving.
As well as taking care of your car, it’s also important you take care of yourself; driving in hot weather conditions can be exhaustive. Give yourself the best chance of a relaxing drive in the sun by making sure you’re prepared for the temperature and the journey ahead.