Don’t break down on your way to your holiday destination, a drive to the beach with the children, a romantic picnic or on a trip to the airport. Read our summer car maintenance tips or book in for a summer service.
You might think you have it all covered with breakdown service from the AA or the RAC but the best way to prevent any breakdowns this summer is to make sure your car is serviced and running well before you leave home. Minimize the chance of breaking down or putting your holiday plans on hold.
Ensure peace of mind if you are driving any distance at all this summer and make sure your brake pads and discs, also your brake fluid levels are checked.
Dashboard check engine light
Don’t ignore a warning light – it tells you your car is not in the best condition. It could be a minor problem but do check it out or you could end up stranded with a costly repair bill.
Check engine lights can indicate several problems – transmission fluid, coolants or internal parts, why not give us a ring and book your car in without delay – we can save you money by sorting out the problem quickly.
The most common cause of a summer breakdown is a puncture. With higher air temperatures tyre problems will be exaggerated. You can find the right pressures by looking inside your vehicle handbook or just inside the driver’s door. Checking them every two weeks is recommended.
Remember that your absolute minimum tread in the UK is at 1.6 mm, essential when driving in wet conditions.
Are you unsure of what your air filter does? Well, it is designed to keep dust and dirt from entering your engine. In the summer especially, air filters can get blocked and cause reduced air flow to the engine. The air filter should always be replaced annually during your car service.
We have all been stuck in a summer traffic jam and know how valuable air conditioning can be. Of course, air conditioning doesn’t just cool the car, but for anyone with hay fever, it can help reduce pollen levels. We recommend making sure your air-conditioning unit is working well.
It’s estimated that 15% of refrigerant gas is lost annually from your air conditioning unit. Suggested servicing periods are every 30,000 miles or two years to avoid more costly repairs. Remember, that using air conditioning will increase fuel consumption – we recommend you don’t use it all the time.
If you are having any problems starting your car, it might be that the battery needs replacing. It is usually during the winter that this happens but don’t dismiss the idea of a battery failing during the summer months. At MotorlineUK, we are happy to undertake a free battery and tyre check on your car. It is a simple way to avoid inconvenient breakdowns.
Lights and vision
Do make sure all your lights are checked regularly – even your reversing lights.
Ensure that your windscreen wash is topped up and that you have good wiper blades.
Overheating and coolant levels
However careful you are to ensure your engine coolants are at the correct levels and that you have a fan that works well, sometimes the heat can get too much for vehicles when they are stuck in holiday traffic jams.
It is recommended to check your coolant fluid level once a week when the engine is cold. If you find a level has dropped, please do get it checked as they should remain at the same levels between services.
Your car’s cooling fan is activated automatically when your engine begins to overheat and draws air in via the radiator to cool your engine. If your fan stops working (they can seize up), the engine coolant is likely to begin to boil and cause significant engine damage.
You can check if your fan is working by turning the heater to cold and running the car until it reaches a normal temperature (middle of the temperature gauge). Leave the car parked and the engine running for around five minutes and listen for the fan to kick in at around this time. If it doesn’t and, your temperature starts to rise, turn the engine off and make sure you get in touch with a garage straight away before any severe damage occurs.
If your car overheats in a traffic jam, or while travelling, one way to reduce the pressure on your engine is to turn your heater on full and activate your air conditioning until the problem subsides and you can get to a garage.
Your car’s oil levels are critical. Oil is the lifeblood of a car and to avoid causing irreparable damage, they should remain between the minimum and maximum marks on your dipstick. Check your oil every two weeks or at least once a month.
With so many potholes across the country, it is quite likely you will be driving over roads that have been recently maintained. Loose debris, stones and tar, can easily damage the bodywork of your car and we recommend driving within the suggested speed limits when passing through these zones. We also recommend leaving plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front. Avoiding damage is much less hassle and expense than ignoring the notices.