Preparing your car for summer trips: 5 of the best tips

Making sure your car is good to go for the summer will mean enjoying the open road worry-free.

With the clocks going forward on Sunday (March 30th) morning, we welcomed the long-awaited arrival of British Summer Time (BST), meaning we can all now start to look towards the brighter weather and banish the memories of the cold and wet winter for another year.

For many of us, this will mean planning days out or summer holidays, be they to fly overseas, or for an increasing number, staycationing and heading out for day trips within the UK.

If you are planning to enjoy the best of what Britain's roads have to offer this summer, though, you will want to make sure that your car is prepared for the task. After all, nothing will be worse than setting out on a warm day for some fun and ending up sat in a layby waiting for a tow truck to come and rescue you and your stricken vehicle.

So what are the best summer tips for preparing your car?

Windscreen washer

This is probably the most neglected area when it comes to summer driving, with most people expecting (or hoping) that the weather will be good enough that they don't need to use their wipers at all.

In reality, though, summer can be one of the most hazardous times for dirty windows. Dust and other dry debris can coat the window quickly in warm weather, and the glare from the sun can make it very hard to see through this, so having enough windscreen washer fluid in your car is absolutely vital.

Check the AC

We all love the sun, but no one wants to be stuck in a baking hot car for a long period of time without the air conditioning to cool them down, so it's important to check this is in fully-functioning order before you set off.

Did you know that air conditioning can run out? After a long time, it will stop working, and you need to go to a garage in order to have it recharged. It can be worth it to do this before your trip to just make sure you are good to go for the duration of your journey.

Engine coolant levels

Summer and heat go (sometimes) hand in hand, so the chances of your car overheating are far higher in the summer than at any other time of the year. Engine coolant is easy to forget when you're under the bonnet giving your oil the once over, but it's just as important.

Checking the gauge on the side of the bottle will let you see if you have enough coolant in the car, and it can be worth giving it a little top up before you head out on a summer trip, even if just for the peace of mind that you won't end up sat at the side of the road with an overheating engine.

Brakes

Checking brakes is something that you should do before undertaking any sizeable trip, but it is especially important in the summer when most of us will be out driving more than usual, whether it's just for a day visit to another city or to head off to the coast for a week with the family.

To check the brakes, you should drive slowly before steadily pressing down the pedal. Check that there are no noises from the brakes and make sure that they are consistent and not too loose, tight or spongy.

If you have any doubt at all, make sure to have them checked by a professional - brakes are not something to mess around with.

Tyres

Like brakes, checking your tyres is an essential part of going on a summer trip, because they can affect not only your safety, but also your fuel consumption.

The key thing you want to check is air pressure. Poorly inflated tyres can leave you with poor steering, uneven tread damage and spending way more on petrol, which can be very problematic when it comes to long trips throughout the summer months.

  • On: 21 March 2014
  • By: CarShop

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