With summer holidays planned for the not too distant future, is your car ready for it? Suddenly hitting your trusted vehicle with a long distance journey might give it a shock – especially if trips to the supermarket are its usual limit.
Alongside packing your suitcases and preparing for the vacation, getting your car in great shape is a wise move. Summer driving places different stresses on your car that can be anticipated and avoided if you follow these tips…
Before any long distance trip, check the condition of your tyres.Tyres are what connect you to the road – this means they should be in a tip-top state at all times. A minimum 1.6mm tread is the legal depth required to avoid fines or penalty points if stopped by the police. If in any doubt, get your tyres replaced before any long journey. Degraded tyres are less safe, stop more slowly in emergencies and negatively effect performance and handling.
In the heat of summer, tyre wear and damage is aggravated by soaring temperatures, making blow-outs and punctures more common. If under inflated, weak spots degrade faster and worn tyres are prone to fail. Caravans and trailers, vehicles that aren’t regularly used, should have tyres checked for cracks.
If you decide new tyres are in order, southern motorists have a head start. If you are in the south east area for mobile tyre fitting Oxfordshire is a great place to begin your search. Professional mobile fitters that bring the tyres to you at your workplace or home, help you save time and hassle amidst pre-vacation chaos. With costs comparing favourably to garage prices, once you have tried it mobile tyre fitting Oxfordshire style will be your go-to tyre solution.
When the weather warms up, car engines do too. Overheating can be a real problem on long journeys, especially if you are moving slowly in traffic jams. Be sure to keep the coolant fluid topped up and check cooling fans and hoses before departure. Be sure to regularly monitor the coolant reservoir and keep an eye out for white staining on hoses which may indicate leaks. The electric cooling fan can be checked by starting the engine and allowing it to idle for ten minutes or so – if working correctly the engine fan should be triggered automatically.
Before setting off, remember to check on other fluids in the car such as oil and brake fluid. Fill up the windscreen wash so your view ahead is always clear.
Fun not Fuel
Spending money on fuel means less funds for holiday larks. You can reduce fuel consumption by making your car as streamlined as possible. If carrying luggage on the roof, use a specialised roof-box – these are designed to minimise drag and cut through the air far easier than a roof-rack loaded with lumpy luggage. If your holiday is based in one place, take off roof boxes or roof racks during your stay to minimise drag.
On hot days, save fuel by using the air conditioning less – allow it to cool the vehicle down to a comfortable temperature, then switch off. Never drive with the air conditioning on and windows open as this ramps up your fuel consumption.
If travelling with children, there is an extra level of planning to engage with. A breakdown with kids in tow doesn’t bear thinking about – but just for peace of mind, remember to pack blankets, warm coats/waterproofs,walking shoes, torch and mobile phone in case of emergencies.
That said, in summer getting overheated in the back seat of the car can be an issue if you don’t have air con or can’t use it for some reason. Invest in adhesive window blinds to block out sun and keep water on hand for thirsty kiddies. Dress children in lightweight, natural fabrics that are layered for easy removal. Snacks, games, videos, music and other entertainment for long trips are all part of the excitement – for many children, extreme holiday anticipation is part of the experience, which is why it’s so important to keep events on track with good planning.
Summer holidays are precious times when we all get a chance to relax. Make sure you maximise vacation fun by setting off in a well prepared car that can go the distance. Spending day-one of the hols on the back of a recovery truck isn’t anybody’s idea of fun – simply be successfully prepared and prepare for success. Here’s to happy hols full of smooth summer driving…