The summer holidays are here, and along with the blue skies and warm weather comes the desire to get up and go. People who want to pamper themselves this summer with trips made by car are wise to pamper their cars as well, because nothing ruins a summer trip like a breakdown on the highway. However, since a breakdown or other unforeseen set-back can occur even with a car in tip-top shape, a truly well-prepared car requires a well-prepared driver. The following tips will help ensure that both car and driver are ready for the unique conditions and requirements of summer holiday driving.
Hot summer weather can be hard on a car’s mechanical components. Since a safe trip requires a safe car, it makes sense to take the car in for a service at the beginning of the summer.
One thing that works extra hard in the heat is a car’s engine. Servicing the car will ensure that the vehicle’s fluids, such as coolant and oil, are either topped off or changed altogether, if necessary. It will also make sure that the oil’s viscosity grade is adjusted to suit the heat, for which a thicker oil grade setting is required.
Other items that are checked when a car is serviced are all the hoses and belts, the battery (which comes under more strain in hot weather than in cold), and the wipers and wiper fluid. In addition, the tyres are thoroughly checked for signs of wear, and are rotated or replaced, if necessary. Also, the tyres’ air pressure is checked, since changes in temperature will cause changes in tyre pressure. Low tyres can lead to improper wear and a greater vulnerability to punctures and flats, and can also cause poor gas mileage.
Things to Remember
A few basic items can make all the difference in the event of unexpected breakdowns or emergencies. For instance, taking a spare key can prevent the aggravating (and commonplace) situation of having gone swimming with one’s electric keys in one’s pocket.
Of course, probably the most important thing to remember when preparing a car for summer travelling is to have an emergency first aid kit and booklet on-hand. The kit can be simple, and should at the very least contain small scissors, tweezers, band aids, and antibiotic cream.
An emergency kit for the car is also a must. Important items include a flashlight, jumper cables, and essential tools like a ratchet and sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, and pliers, as well as extra windshield fluid. These items can help minimize holiday time lost to car troubles. In addition, ensuring that the spare tyre is in good condition is worthwhile. Finally, keeping some extra water and snacks in the car will help passengers manage with a wait, if a real breakdown does occur.
Written on behalf of Concept Car Credit by Manchester based car blogger Riley Lambert. If you’d like to find out more about Concept, visit the website on www.conceptcarcredit.co.uk.