Essential summer car safety tips and checks

Gorgeous weather, lighter evenings and the challenge of trying to keep the kids entertained for a whole six weeks, summer means one thing and it’s definitely a lot more road trips.

With this in mind, here at AA Cars, we’ve put together a list of essential summer car safety checks and thrown in a few general top tips to help ensure that your car is just as ready for summer fun as you are:

Under the bonnet

The hot weather can play havoc with the fluids in your motor in a similar way to the cold weather in winter can. It’s important to remember to check fluid levels – engine oil, brake fluid, coolant and screen wash and ensure that they’re topped up sufficiently before you head off on any long journeys.

Fluid leaks should also be on your radar, so be sure to check for any oil/water spillages and take your car into the garage if you see anything unexpected.

The last thing to look out for under the bonnet includes any problems with the battery or drive belt. Battery failures are one of the main cause of breakdowns and you don’t want to end up stuck on the hard shoulder en-route to a summer get-away.

Air conditioning

Fully functioning air conditioning is essential for those long summer drives so it’s important to check it’s working before a long road trip. The most common problems are leakages which can mean a hot and stuffy ride in the warmer months. Be sure to get yours checked at the garage if you think there could be any problems before the weather hots up.

External features to check:

  • Windscreen wipers – In summer the heat can affect your windscreen wipers causing them to crack and split. It’s important to check that they’re in great condition and replace them if they show any significant signs of wear and tear, in preparation for those surprise summer showers.
  • Lights – As we don’t use our lights as much in the summer sometimes they can easily be forgotten about until we need them when it gets dark. Driving with faulty lights or a light out is both dangerous and illegal, so remember to always check them, have a walk around the car to check the rear ones too before setting off on any long journeys.
  • Tyres  As summer usually means an increase in the number of journeys you make, ensuring your tyres have the right amount of tread is essential for your safety. Check each tyre for cuts, bulges and gouges and remember the law demands at least 1.6mm of tread for safety. Be sure to check the air pressure and top up any tyres that are running low. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre, too.

Top tips

  • Check traffic reports before heading to popular destinations like sea side resorts and theme parks on warm days or bank holidays when the roads will be especially busy.
  • Be sure to always have some drinking water in the car to stay hydrated, especially on long journeys.
  • The extra weight of carrying luggage and extra passengers can also take its toll on your car and may mean having to fill up with more fuel, so keep an eye on the petrol gauge. An ideal car for family summer road trips with plenty of space for all and top of the range technology features is the impressive Ford Kuga, take a look at used varieties for sale at AA Cars.
  • Never underestimate the power of a bag of sweets and a classic game of I spy to keep children quiet, if all else fails make sure to bring an iPad to keep them entertained.
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses to avoid poor visibility from the sun’s bright glare.

By looking after your vehicle properly and carrying out all the necessary checks, both you and your car will be well set for a problem free summer of fun ahead… … did somebody say ice cream?

Image courtesy of iStock

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