Thousands of motorists undoubtedly plan summer road trips as vacation begins. To keep safe on the road, whether you’re planning a local staycation in England or a trip to Europe, you must do basic vehicle maintenance.
Preparing a vehicle is part of some people’s summer road trip plans. We’ve compiled a few checklists to help you and your family enjoy your holiday while being safe and legal.
Eight things to check off before hitting the road in summer
Examine your air conditioning system for a comfortable commute
Traveling across Europe in summer without having a working air conditioning system could be disastrous. Even in the UK, the temperature could reach higher 30s (as in Heathrow on 31st July). Spain, Athens and other places also experience hot weather in summer. The intensive heat would decrease your energy level, affecting your working abilities. Hence, the first thing is you need to check the car’s air conditioning. If the cooling is not appropriate, it could be due to the low refrigerant level. As it is a complicated system, you need to visit a car AC specialist to fix it.
Change the engine oil along with the oil filter and add new coolant
Engine oils help to run your vehicle engine smoothly. One of its tasks is to prevent friction between engine parts and keep the overall system cool. You may require changing the engine oil and oil filter more often in hot weather as compared to any season of the year. Mechanics suggest you change the oil and its filter at different intervals ranging from 5000km to 12,000km.
It’s quite simple to check the oil level by yourself. Just start the car & cover some distance. Pullover to a levelled surface and turn the engine off. Open the bonnet, locate the oil dipstick and pull it out. Ensure the oil is lighter in colour and does not contain dirt. Else, you certainly need a replacement.
The crucial thing is to check the vehicle tyres, but any obvious problems. So, better take more precautious care on tyres and additional checks when starting your long journey. Check the tyre for cuts, bulges, and gouges on each wheel in turn. If you notice any, take your car to a reputable garage or tyre fitter to have your tyres professionally inspected.
Coolant serves important purposes- it raises the boiling point of water, lowering the likelihood of your engine overheating. It’s also known as antifreeze because it protects against freezing.
Locate the coolant reservoir under the hood once your engine has cooled down. You can find instructions from the owner’s manual. Inside, there should be a coloured fluid, and the level should be between the minimum and the maximum marks. If it’s low, you’ll need to top it up, but ensure you get the right type- your local dealer or car spares shop can help with this.
Inspect the hoses, belts, and air filter for damages
A cool engine ensures the performance and safety of any car, even if it’s a BMW or an Aston Martin. We neglect specific components most of the time, but they are integral to keeping the engine cool. These include hoses that carry the coolant from the radiator to the engine block and back to the radiator. Make sure such tubes are not cracked or leaked, and they are nicely connected to the radiator.
If you’re going to drive in Europe or other areas, you need to be aware of the specific rules and requirements you’ll need to follow. Else going to France or Spain, two of the most popular destinations for Brits, you’ll need to bring a lot of gear.
In France, for example, drivers must carry a warning triangle, reflective jackets, and at least two breathalyzers. If you’re driving on snowy roads, you’ll need snow chains. Furthermore, Spain requires a spare wheel.
Car Check- Make Sure the Battery Withstand through the summer
Batteries are usually destructible in hot weather, as the heat overcharges them by speeding up the chemical reaction within. Hotness can also evaporate the fluid inside the cell, reducing its lifespan. However, you can sustain the battery by keeping it clean. You have to remove the cables, clean the terminals, and secure all the connections. You may also consult with a technician at any service station. If required, do not hesitate to replace the battery with a new one. Moreover, consult with professionals to guide you in buying the right battery for your car.
Park Under a Shade or Prevent the Interior from Heat
Hot weather affects the mechanical components of a car and the interior. If you notice plastic elements within the driver’s cabin melting or changing shape, it is most likely due to the extreme sunlight. The heat entering the cockpit is trapped within and makes the interior hot. You can prevent it by parking your car indoors or at least under a shade. If you can’t find such parking conditions, use electrostatic sheets and rolling tint for windshields. Such products keep the heat out as much as possible and prevent others from sneaking into your car, as well.
We tried to cover a few basic checklists must-do for a trouble-free summer road trip. This will help you to improve vehicle performance and fuel efficiency. However, if you think of purchasing a mechanically and structurally fit car, you can use our buy a car service along with our vehicle background history report to find out its hidden history.