How to maintain your car in summertime

16th July 2013

Holiday season is upon us and chances are you’ve been spending a little more time on the road than usual. This time of year, travelling is especially common, with domestic vacations and day trips accounting for a large portion of traffic. Cost-conscious drivers take note: all those extra miles you’re putting on your car can have a substantial effect on fuel economy and impact your vehicle’s overall performance. Negate the damage by following these simple tips.

Regularly inspect tyres

Your tyres are particularly vulnerable in the summertime, as hot tarmac burns through rubber and has a tendency to wear down tyre tread. Because of this, you should get into the habit of regularly inspecting your tyres before you leave home. Look for worn down tread and be aware of the legal limit which requires a minimum tread depth of 1.6 millimetres across the central three-quarters of the tyre all the way around. If you’re worried your tyres don’t meet the requirement, you may want to invest in new ones.

While you’re at it, check tyre pressure to avoid excessive wear and tear caused by underinflation, or worse, a blowout triggered by over-inflation.  If you’ve been putting this off, be aware that driving on tyres that are deemed unroadworthy can cost you up to three points on your licence along with £2,500 in fines.

Don’t let a blow-out or flat tyre totally derail your travel plans – keep a spare tyre in the boot in case of emergency.

Check tyres for damage

While you inspect your tyres, look for early signs of damage. Friction and red hot tarmac can worsen pre-existing problems, so be sure to get small cracks and tears fixed before you set off for a long journey.

Avoid overheating

High temperatures can exacerbate problems in your car’s cooling system, too. To keep your engine from overheating, top up coolant reservoir levels regularly. Furthermore, check to make sure the fan’s working properly. If yours doesn’t cut in automatically, you may need to take the car into a professional mechanic for repairs.

Keep keys safe

If you’re headed to the beach, take care to keep your car keys safe. Leave your fob with a friend before you dive in for a swim.

Minimise drag on your vehicle

To keep petrol costs down, look at simple ways to minimise drag on your vehicle. Streamlined roof boxes are a great way to do this, along with keeping windows closed. In addition, try to limit the amount of luggage you bring along on your trip – heavy loads will increase your car’s fuel consumption and put more pressure on your tyres.

Turn off the air con

If possible, limit your use of the air conditioning unit. It’s okay to turn it on for awhile, especially during a heatwave, but get in the habit of switching it off once your car’s cooled down. Running the air con on high will reduce your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Safeguard your vision

Fuel efficiency and minimal fuel consumption mean nothing if your safety is compromised. On bright, sunny days, be sure to wear a quality pair of sunglasses – they’ll help eliminate glare and protect your vision. Additionally, clean the windscreen to reduce smears and cut down on glare.

Take breaks

Along with safeguarding your ability to see the road, take frequent pit stops to stay alert. Combat fatigue and heat stress with breaks every one to two hours, depending on how you feel. Despite the fact that regular pit stops will slow your journey down a little, maintaining high energy levels, alertness and reaction time is important, as it’s the best way to make sure you arrive safely at your holiday destination.

Make sure your car’s ready for the trip

Before setting off, have your car serviced by an expert at ATS Euromaster. This simple step will give you peace of mind knowing your car is ready for the journey.

Posted by Follow this comprehensive guideline to maintain your car and your safety this summer.