Summer is here! After several months of lockdown and travel restrictions, we know that many cars will require extra attention to prepare them for busier summer months and the staycations to come. While the Government’s advice to drivers is to limit certain risks and possible breakdowns in summer, my guys are offering some expert tips for drivers on how to keep your cars in great shape during the summer months.
We emphasise keeping both brakes and clutch in check. Brakes can quickly overheat, which can increase stopping distances or even complete failure. It is essential to check the life cycle of the brake pads thoroughly and ensure brake fluids are topped up, especially before long road trips across the country. Using a flashlight to get a good look at the brake pad will help determine its thickness. A worn-out brake pad is thin and will need replacing.
Long journeys and heat, on the other hand, create a lot of extra work for the clutch. It is essential to pay extra attention when towing a caravan or trailer for a road trip or holiday. It needs to be appropriately loaded and correctly attached to avoid unnecessary clutch strain or failure. Click here for some smart advice on loading a car, from last year’s summer blog.
We also suggest keeping a close eye on the cooling systems and fans in hot weather to avoid overheating. A leaking cooling system can cause direct damage to the car engine, causing severe repair costs. Flip open the bonnet and check on all belts and hoses, as extreme heat can cause blistering and cracking among other issues. It would help if you looked out for cracks, fraying or splits between the top cover or signs of glazing on the belt’s sides, as glazed or slick belts can slip, overheat, or crack.
After visually checking the health of your air conditioning unit and going on your journey, you may notice when you park up, small pools of water under the vehicle, that is due to the condensed water emissions. And there is no need to panic, when you see what looks like smoke coming out of the car’s air vents, this is the water vapour provided by the air conditioning unit which may not have had the chance to condense. So, unless it holds a particularly pungent smell, it is most likely safe to disregard.
Additional noise from under the car bonnet could be the cooling fan turning on and off, and while it can be quite loud in full operation, it is not a cause for concern. Sometimes, when using the air conditioning on long journeys, you may experience less power delivery from your car engine. The reason can be because of the warmer air. However, if the change to power delivery is significant, we recommend one of my guys looking at it.
Many drivers, unfortunately, experience tyre blow-outs in summer. Tyres expand on exposure to heat and can dry out or disintegrate. My guys and I suggest checking tyre pressures regularly, as hot weather and intensive use may cause under-inflated tyres to blow-out. Checking all tyres, including the spare and those on caravan and trailers before a long trip may spare a blow-out on a busy motorway.
The MOT will be back this summer
The MOT extension, although welcome during these tough times, it is a risk to the roadworthiness of cars, and we always recommend a professional health check before a long trip, as it can avoid stress and issues later down the line. Please note, the early cancellation of the government’s six-month MOT extension scheme means the MOT is back from 1 August.
During these unprecedented times, people may be concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic may affect the way you maintain your cars. Let me reassure you. All my guys follow all the government protocols, including handwashing, gel protocols and maintaining safe distances when dealing with customers to avoid physical contact. We do not cross-contaminate or re-contaminate anyone’s vehicle. All equipment is either disposed of or sanitised between different bookings.
We know that since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, concerns about cleanliness has been understandably incredibly significant and we hope that our new initiative will go some way to reassuring customers who want to use their cars.
We want to make it as hassle-free as possible for you this summer, save £15 on a contact-free safety check by using the code ‘safe15’ when you book a summer health check with us.