Summer is finally upon us and hopefully we’ll all be off on holiday really soon! Are you planning a summer holiday road trip in your car? If so, is it ready to be loaded to the gunwales with people, camping gear, cool boxes, beer, buckets, spades, kitchen sinks…?
Seriously, a road trip in the summer heat is about the most strenuous thing your car will do in the year. Heavy loads, traffic jams, and hot temperatures really put a strain on all aspects of your vehicle. So don’t spoil your summer holiday with a breakdown and follow these motor checks to make sure your car is ready for the trip too.
Get A Full Service
If it’s due, definitely get your car serviced before you go! There’s nothing quite like the peace of mind knowing that your engine has had a really good going over. A full service at VFR Motor Services includes a whole host of tests and check. Find out what’s included in our vehicle services here.
If you’re vehicle doesn’t need a service right now, then these checks will keep you safe on the roads in the hot weather.
Keep Your Screen Clean
First and foremost, spend 5 minutes cleaning your windscreen inside and out. Don’t start out on your summer holiday road trip with poor visibility.
A long car journey inevitably ends with a a few bugs squished on the front windscreen. Trying to clean them off with screen wash while you’re driving is nigh impossible. Making sure you don’t head out with dried on squashed flies is a great start!
The inside of the windscreen is also important. A glaring sun will reflect off any smears or dirt on the inside of the glass and reduce your visibility considerably.
Check Your Oil And Water
You should always do this before any long trip regardless of the conditions. But it’s especially important if there’s hot weather forecast and the car is working hard with a full load.
All your car’s components will get hotter under the bonnet with the sun beating down. Not to mention all the people crammed inside the passenger compartment (more on that later).
The water provides essential cooling for the engine, so you really don’t want this to run low. Oil lubricates the engine and also has a cooling effect. Low oil means greater friction inside the engine, which generates heat. Definitely not what we want on a hot day.
Check the condition and pressure of all the tyres on your vehicle. Hot road surfaces will naturally increase the heat of the tyre and this makes a difference to how it performs. Even with an everyday light load on board.
Once your car is fully loaded, there’s a whole load of extra pressure on the tyres. Every time you turn a corner the extra weight is pushing the car sideways and the tyres will have to absorb this pressure to keep the car on the road.
Before you travel, make sure to set the pressure of the tyres to the manufacturers recommendations for a fully laden vehicle. This will be slightly different from your day-to-day tyre pressure – usually a touch higher to compensate for the additional weight.
Low tyre pressure will cause the tyre to overheat and possibly blow out. Not what you want anywhere, but especially not at speed on the motorway.
Read more about tyre maintenance essentials on our article.
Long road trips can be very uncomfortable and air conditioning is a godsend. Keeping the driver happy and tempers unfrayed on a long journey simply make it more pleasant for everyone.
There’s really not much you can do yourself to keep this part of your car in tip top condition. Maintaining your vehicle’s aircon in good working order requires a professional with a special machine to re-gas and change the oil. There’s no warning light on the dash either – it will simply stop working. Don’t let this happen half way to your holiday destination!
A regular service by a professional is really the only way to make sure your car’s air-conditioning will go the distance. Here at VFR Motor Services we can do a full aircon service for £50 + VAT. This includes refreshing the gas and putting fresh clean oil in your air-conditioning system.
Kids and Pets
Last but certainly not least, never leave kids or pets unattended inside a motor vehicle on a hot day. The temperature inside your car will sky-rocket extremely quickly and creates a highly dangerous environment.
Read more on the Metro website about how car temperatures shoot up on a sunny day.
VFR Motor Services Summer Holiday Road Trip Check
If you’d like to get these things check over by a professional, we offer a pre-holiday road trip check. A snip at £20 + VAT.