Summer Car Maintenance Checklist

Air-conditioningSummer is one of the busiest times of the year for motorists and it’s difficult to think of a worse way to end a holiday than broken-down on the hard shoulder. Take our practical tips to make sure that your car is ready for the summer slog:

Air Conditioning With the weather warming-up it’s important for drivers and passengers to keep their cool. Air conditioning takes the sweat out of summer driving and keeps pollen levels low, so make sure it’s working before setting off. Some air conditioning problems are easy to solve (such as replacing a blown fuse) while others can be complicated and costly (such as replacing the compressor). Remember that air conditioning systems drink fuel and it makes financial sense to wind-down the windows when driving at slower speeds.

Tyre Pressure Motorists may be surprised to learn that punctures are the single biggest cause of breakdowns in the summer months. Warm weather and more miles can exacerbate existing problems and take a toll on your tyres; so make sure they are inflated to the recommended pressure.

Air Filters Your air filter is the first line of defence against unwanted airborne particles and can get clogged-up in the summer months. Not only will a blocked filter impair your car’s performance, but also the air you breathe (hay fever sufferers take note). Dry filters can be vacuumed while oil filters need to be soaked in a specialist cleansing solution; although both should be regularly replaced.

Engine Coolant Most mechanics recommend that you check your engine coolant levels every two weeks. However, a leading motoring organisation estimates that six million motorists run the risk of overheating by failing to top-up. Considering that repair bills can easily run into four figures; it’s a gamble that really isn’t worth taking. Checking your coolant couldn’t be simpler, just pop the bonnet when the engine is cold, and make sure the liquid sits between the min/max levels in the reservoir tank. If you suspect that the engine is overheating when you are on the road; turn-up the heating (although it sounds counter-intuitive) and switch-on the aircon.

Cooling Fan The fan works by blowing air through the radiator to keep the engine cool. It automatically kicks-in when the engine heats-up and a faulty fan could lead to the coolant boiling. You can check if the fan is working by running the engine on idle until it comes up to temperature (about halfway on the gauge) when you should hear the fan start working.

Windscreen Visibility Low summer sun at dawn and dusk can be blinding and a dirty windscreen can make matters worse. Check your wiper blades for signs of wear and tear, make sure you’ve got enough screen wash, and clean your windscreen inside and out before hitting the open road.

Planning Ahead A little bit of homework before setting-off can save a lot of time stuck in traffic where engines (and tempers) can easily overheat. Check the route and traffic report and consider rescheduling if the weather looks lousy.

Breakdown Cover Taking the steps outlined above will ensure that your car is ready for summer, but unfortunately things can and do go wrong. Breakdown insurance from Quoteline Direct is a cost-effective way to safeguard against the unexpected and with cover costing just £59.00 a year (including Europe) you can get peace of mind for less than the price of a tank of petrol.







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