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  • 07 July 2017
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    Summer Car Tips by Howards Motor Group

    Battery


    Problem: It might seem like a no-brainer but flat batteries are the most common reason for a breakdown. Take into account that warmer weather can actually shorten the life of your battery if it's not properly sealed due to electrolytes evaporating more quickly!


    Fix: Check the fluid level in your battery before setting off on a journey and, if needed, top it up distilled water. Some batteries are sealed and do not include a filler cap, nonetheless, it’s always best to check these for corrosion and leakage of battery acid.



    Air Conditioning


    Problem: Okay, worst case scenario… your air conditioning is not functioning properly. This doesn’t seem like the worst thing to happen whilst whizzing along the motorway with the air vents open and maybe even a window cracked open, most of us might even find that a bit too much… but hit the congestion or the slower moving urban traffic and you’re going to be reaching for that AC button. Flustered and stifled are not two things you want to be experiencing in the confines of your vehicle!


    Fix: It is recommended that you have your air con re-gassed every two years, and if you have an older car you are probably due to a  service. Another useful bit of info where your air con is concerned is that it requires semi-regular use to keep it all in working order. So, don’t forget to use the aircon regularly and throughout the year, the fluid that is all part of the system keeps things like washers and seals lubricated and, in doing so, help you to prevent leaks.


    Tip: We’ve got a little side note for you here;  you ever find yourself in an ‘unfixable’ situation… Why not try a solar powered car fan? Mount it on an open window to expel hot air and cause instant air flow!


    Tyres


    Problem: During those hot summer days, when driving, the temperature of your tyres increases more which means the air inside the tyre is heated and expands. Your psi can increase up to 5psi in the first 20-30 minutes of driving. This inflation of the tyres means that weak points are quite literally under more pressure, over inflated tyres wear more quickly and are also more prone to blow outs.


    Fix: The best remedy here is prevention and planning! Make sure to check your tyre pressures when they are cold and check them for improper tread wear and other defects that could lead to a puncture. In doing this, you are doing everything you can to avoid any nasty surprises. No One wants a blow-out!


    Engine fluids


    Problem: As the outside temperature rises so does the temperature of your car, and this includes the engine! Vital fluids within the engine are key in keeping the engine cool and avoiding over heating. Hot weather is a common cause of overheating and it can cause a breakdown.


    Fix:  A pretty straightforward way to prevent this from happening is to keep a regular check on all engine fluids! You should be checking coolant levels and engine oil levels once a week. Brake, clutch and steering fluid needs to be checked once a month. BUT it is worth checking all of these if you are planning a long journey, and makes sure to check your windscreen washer fluid too - don’t get caught short!   


    Belts


    Problem: Every car is fitted with at least one drive belt aka the fan belt. This drives the alternator, air con compressor and water and steering pumps, which are pretty vital to the smooth functioning of your car. The belt itself is made of rubber and so is affected by hot temperatures, they can cause it to expand and slip which in turn affects the function of the engine.


    Fix: This is something that you can check visually, have a look and if you see any cracks or small pieces missing… if there are then you need a new one. It is also worth checking your cooling fan too. Check your cooling fan by running your engine for five minutes when it is already warm and then listening out for the fan to kick in.



    Wipers and Screen



    Problem: Bright light or a low sun can cause a real restriction to your visibility. This combined with dirt and those pesky summer bugs can lead to some scarily restricted vision! The Sunshine and an impaired windscreen do not mix!


    Fix: First off, prevention prevention prevention! You need to make sure your windscreen is clear and clean before you set off, check for any excess dirt and bugs and clean it off. Secondly, you need to be prepared for any incident that could lead to your sparkling windscreen becoming less so! Mud and dirt were thrown up from a passing vehicle, bugs or even bird waste can really be a distraction and a hindrance and you need to be in the position to react accordingly. Make sure your windscreen wash is topped up and full, using quality and approved actual windscreen wash. Washing up liquid may seem a viable option but it will eventually cause blockages as it is not meant for this purpose! As well as ensuring the windscreen fluids are correct and full, make sure that your windscreen wiper blades are still fully functional. They tend to need replacing once a year, but should you be experiencing a smeary aftermath we suggest getting them seen to asap! Having a clear view is of paramount importance, keeping your windscreen clear will help you to maintain a view when facing the bright sunshine of the summer months!



    Servicing


    Problem: You may not be due to a service immediately, it may be a couple of weeks away or even a month but if you are planning a road trip then we’d suggest that you get your car seen sooner rather than later. A long trip can cause more wear and tear on your vehicle never mind the added strain of harsh weather conditions, summer heat included!


    Fix: This is a pretty straightforward fix… We’d recommend booking in for a service. We offer a straightforward and simple servicing process, including online servicing booking here.


    Hot car



    Problem #1: So, your drive has been fine and successful as you’ve (obviously) followed all the above tips! You’ve parked up at your destination and got on with a few tasks, now a quick trip to the shops is in order… jump into the car and HEAT! The chair is hot, the dash is hot and, worst of all, the steering wheel is, what you imagine to be, hotter than the sun!


    Fix: All of the discomfort and burning hands can be fixed in one quick fix… a windscreen shield! This one item will be your best friend throughout the summer months, keeping your entire car cooler and more comfortable! In addition, it is worth investing for individual window sun shields to use for younger back seat passengers too!


    Trick: This problem also comes with a trick, should you be caught short. Turn your wheel 180 degrees before getting out. This means that the section of the steering wheel that you are meant to hold on to (remember your ten to two hand position?) has not been in direct sunlight! You’re welcome.  



    Problem #2: A hot car can also mean a stinking car…


    Fix: Keep your car ventilated! For added deodorising why not try taping a dryer sheet over your air-con vent or even stash a box dryer seats under your seat for added benefit!


    Preparation


    This a something that we cannot stress enough. Preparation is prevention! So, be prepared for any instance. If you’re heading on a road trip it is best to be ready in case of a breakdown, especially if you have young passengers! So, make sure you have water, food, a phone charger and general provisions just in case!


    If you are unsure as to how to carry out any of the above checks or processes, do not fret! We have a really helpful team dedicated to ensuring you get all the help you need. Have a look here to find your nearest Howards dealership, where we’ll have a dedicated team ready to help with any query.




Howard Garages (Weston) Ltd is an Appointed Representative of Automotive Compliance Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA No 497010). Automotive Compliance Ltd’s permissions as a Principal Firm allows Howard Garages (Weston) Ltd to act as a credit broker, not as a lender, for the introduction to a limited number of finance providers and to act as an agent on behalf of the insurer for insurance distribution activities only.

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