Summer is on its way! If you are planning a few road trips for festivals, beach days or maybe a mini break, check out our summer vehicle maintenance tips to ensure that your summer plans aren’t spoilt by breakdowns.
Modern cars are designed to cope with British weather – fairly low temperatures, fairly high temperatures, and plenty of rain! To prepare for driving in warmer temperatures, you need to check the following:
Tyres: Warmer air means higher tyre pressure, which can highlight your vehicle’s weak spots. Check your tyre pressure and make sure that it is within the limits set by your manufacturer.
Glare: Scratched, dusty or damaged windscreens might be ok in normal light, but with sun glare, it can become impossible to see. Make sure you fix any chips or scratches; plenty of windscreen specialists can repair some scratches and chips quickly and cheaply.
Windscreen fluid and wipers: Your windscreen wipers are needed all year round; for those Great British downpours, as well as removing bird poo, dust and debris. Make sure your wipers are in good condition and your fluid is topped up.
Coolant: Your vehicle may be prone to overheating, particularly if you are driving a long way, with a laden car, in warm temperatures. Check and top up coolant as necessary. If you notice coolant levels dropping rapidly, contact your local garage.
Fuel consumption: Drag can cause your fuel consumption to rise, as the vehicle has to work harder to go at the same speed. Driving with the windows open (particularly on the motorway), using a roof box and having your air conditioning on can all make your vehicle less efficient. Try to keep your windows up and use the air conditioning sparingly; you could always drop your speed to save a little fuel.
Don’t worry if:
- You notice pools of water under your car. This could be condensation from your air con.
- You experience reduced power: Just like us, vehicles can be a little sluggish in higher heat as the warmer air is less dense, which means the engine has slightly less power.
- Steam comes from your air vents. When you first use the air vents, dust might fly out, and in warm temperature, the vents might emit water vapour that wasn’t condensed by the air conditioning. As long as it is steam and not acrid smoke, there isn’t a problem.
The best way to avoid breaking down is to make sure that your vehicle is serviced regularly at your local garage. If in doubt, check with a mechanic; when it comes to road safety, ignoring issues with your vehicle could have dire consequences.