If you’re off on a driving holiday this summer, there are a number of checks you’ll need to make on your vehicle before heading off in search of a nice relaxing break.
Don’t discount them either, because if you don’t give your car the once over before you set off (and your trailer if you’re towing one of these or a caravan), then you might lose valuable holiday time waiting at the side of the road for the recovery service.
Many people might make the mistake of thinking drier summer conditions means you don’t have to inspect your car as frequently.
However, there are a different set of problems you might encounter – just like winter, summer has it’s own unique set of challenges when it comes to driving, which is why we’ve put together a checklist on how to prepare your car for summer.
Re-gas your air conditioning
Did you know a car’s air conditioning system works just like your fridge at home – it needs a special gas to help cool the air, keeping you nice and cool should you encounter any annoying traffic jams and an open window just isn’t going to cut it.
If there’s not enough gas in the system, your air-con might not be working as efficiently as it could. To ensure that you stay cool whilst driving around, why not pop into one of our service centres for an air-con service… Alternativly you could consider a Mazda MX-5? – Don’t forget your sunglasses!
Check engine coolant and oil levels
While you’re checking performing a few vital checks, make sure these extend to the engine coolant and oil levels.
If the first is low it might mean your car will overheat in hot weather, as there is not enough coolant to effectively cool the engine, while if your oil level is low, you could risk expensive – even irreparable – damage to the engine.
Given modern cars have more electronic systems crammed into their make-up, it stands to reason that you might place a high load on the electrics during summer.
Electric windows, air conditioning, even cooled seats all require a significant amount of power – if you’re embarking on a long road trip this summer, it might be worth getting a mechanic to check the condition of your car’s battery.
While they’re at it, get them to check the alternator – this is the part that actually charges the battery when the engine is on – if it’s faulty you could run the battery flat.
Tow bar checks
Many motorists might be planning to tow a trailer for extra luggage space or a caravan on their summer holiday this year. If you’re planning to, make sure you assess the trailer’s roadworthiness and all associated systems including making sure that your car is up to the job. Check out top towing cars this summer.
By this we mean making sure the tow bar is in good order and properly fitted if it’s a removable item. Plug in the electrics to ensure your trailers indicators, taillights, brake lights and number plates lights are all working as they should.
Tyre checks should be routine for most motorists, but if you’re heading on holiday in your car – likely sitting at motorway speeds for long periods – make sure your vehicle’s rubber is fit for purpose.
We advise more than the legal 1.6mm of tread in the UK and to check your tyre pressures, inflating them to manufacturer specification accurately – this goes for the trailer, too.
Spring clean for summer
Give your car a once over inside, too. Nobody likes travelling in a dirty car, but having litter rolling around in the foot wells has a safety implication as well.
If a bottle or can gets stuck under the brake pedal, it could cause a crash, so ensure your cabin is free from rubbish.
Car insurance checks
Although many modern car insurance policies include European cover, make sure you’ve got all the right documents to take with you and your cover provider is aware of where and when you are travelling.
Some policies only include free third party cover abroad, so always read the small print and upgrade if you feel the need to.