Prepare for Summer Road Trips
Whether you’re planning a short trip or a tour around Europe, it’s important that you make sure your car is prepared for any road trips you take this summer. Hot weather can put additional strain on vehicles, so it’s your job to make sure it’s in top condition before you hit the road.
Check Your Engine Fluids
In hot weather we get thirsty – and so do our cars! Avoid an unnecessary breakdown by ensuring that you have enough oil for your engine by opening your bonnet when your engine is cold and finding your engine oil container and dipstick. Wipe your dipstick so it is clean and dip it in to the oil, when you remove check where the oil is in relation to the markings on the stick. If it just reaches the minimum line or is lower, you should top up your engine oil by consulting your vehicle handbook. Your oil will also need to be replaced if it is not a brown-black colour or gritty in consistency.
Whilst you are under the bonnet, you should also check that you have a sufficient level of engine coolant. This works to absorb heat and helps to prevent the engine from overheating. Locate your engine coolant container, and visually check that the liquid sits comfortably between the maximum and minimum guidelines. If it is too low, check your vehicle handbook for advice on topping it up.
Keep Your Vision Clear
Before your journey, you should also ensure that you will have a clear and unobstructed view of the road. Make sure any windscreen damage is repaired and that your mirrors are correctly positioned and free from damage. Inspect your windscreen wipers for signs such as cracks or frays and have them replaced if necessary. You should also check your washer fluid and refill if it is running low. It is a good idea to keep sunglasses in your car at all times just in case the sun dazzles you when driving.
Inspect Your Tyres
Your tyres are the only part of your vehicle in contact with the road, so it is important that you make sure they are fit for purpose. Check that your tyre tread depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm by placing a 20 pence coin in different grooves. If you can see the outer band of the coin, it is time to have your tyres replaced. PTA Garage Services would recommend changing your tyres when tread drops below 3mm.
You should also inspect your tyre pressures to make sure that they are correctly inflated. Visit a local petrol station and use the gauge to top up your tyres so that they match the pressure specified by your vehicle handbook. You can also find your recommended tyre pressure on the passenger side door or the fuel cap. You should also make a visual inspection of your tyres to make sure they are free from damage such as lumps, bulges or tears.
In hot weather your air conditioning is essential to keep you comfortable when driving! Look out for signs that your air conditioning might not be working effectively including emissions of hot air whilst on or not reaching as cold a temperature as usual. Whilst you can’t fix problems with your air conditioning yourself, it would be advisable to have your system looked at before any long journeys in summer. You can book an Air Con Top-Up online if you are concerned yours is not working.
You can also take advantage of a Pre-Journey Check at PTA Garage Services. Simply add to your basket when you check out. Our Pre-Journey Check includes checks to your tyres, battery and engine fluids.