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Summer Driving and Car Care Tips

June 24, 2016

Is there anything better than cruising down the motorway in the height of a long, hot summer? With the windows down and your summer playlist in full swing, a road trip has got to be one of the best things about the summer season. Whether you’re touring Europe or taking a day trip to the coast, there’s something magical about having the freedom to take a journey whenever and wherever you please.

Gone are the days of cancelling plans due to flooding and icy roads, and long nights make late-night travelling a lot easier. The colder months are famous for road safety issues, but that’s not to say that care shouldn’t be taken when driving during the summer. In actual fact, driving safely is just as important in the summertime – and caring for your car throughout the season can save you some hefty maintenance bills. In today’s post, we’ll be giving you the breakdown on our top summer driving tips – as well as looking at how following our summer vehicle maintenance tips can keep you safe on the roads.

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1. Don’t drive if you’re tired

No journey is worth making if it could compromise the safety of you, your passengers or other road users. Long journeys and high temperatures can leave drivers feeling tired – which inevitably lowers reaction times and increases the risk of an accident. If you feel tired, pull over and grab a coffee or take a short nap for 15 minutes. Just make sure you park up in a safe and sensible place – and never nap on the hard shoulder. Short, regular breaks should be taken often on a long trip – and your passengers are likely to appreciate stretching their legs after a couple of hours anyway.

2. Ensure the air-conditioning is working

That baking heat is all well and good when you’re lying on a beach with a nice cold cocktail in one hand and an ice-cream in the other – but it’s a different story when you’re cooped up in a vehicle for a long period of time. A fully working air-con system can make that journey a little bit more comfortable, so check its condition before setting off. The air-conditioning does increase fuel consumption – but keeping cool and reducing pollen levels in the vehicle will mean the driver is more alert and safe to drive. Out of all our summer driving safety tips, using these mod cons will prove particularly valuable – as they ensure that the driver is comfortable, in good health and responsive.

3. Be prepared for punctures

If your tyres aren’t in peak condition or at the correct pressure, the high summer temperatures are going to increase the possibility of a puncture. Checking for damage and measuring the tyre pressure regularly can reduce the risk, so seek advice on tyre pressure from your car handbook. Most petrol stations have car tyre pressure gauges, and you’ll be able to inflate the tyres here, too – ideal if you’re taking a trip with a heavier load than usual.

It goes without saying that you’re likely to run into some problems by driving winter tires in summer. The flexible tread of winter tyres, which adds traction during the winter months, will wear down quickly in warm temperatures – which can lead to an inconvenient puncture. A simple swap to summer tyres means your vehicle will be able to handle and grip well on both wet and dry roads – with these tyres being more practical for climates over 7°C. These tyres are specifically designed for optimal performance in summer conditions, making steering quick and accurate – and the softer rubber compounds will be prepared to handle any twists and turns. It’s not hard to see why this tyre set in the summer months may be for the best. Summer tires are well worth the investment – whether you’re just looking to drive safely around the town, or concerned about getting into an accident on the motorway.

4. Keep checking engine coolant levels

It’s surprising how quickly your engine coolant levels can diminish. While the mechanic may freshen up the coolant during the car’s annual service, it’s important to get under the bonnet and check for engine coolant regularly – that means at least once a week during the summer months. The level should sit between the minimum and maximum mark on the tank – and if you’re repeatedly finding low levels, it may be time to visit the garage.

The cooling fan offers another means of preventing your car’s engine from overheating – but if this ceases to start, you could be faced with some disastrous effects. Luckily, with these summer car care tips, you can avoid getting hot and bothered about a failing engine. Keep an eye on your car thermostat – one clear sign of overheating is when the needle hits the middle of the temperature gauge. In the event of overheating, park up and leave the engine idling for five minutes – and don’t forget to wind down the windows and turn off any mod cons.

5. Make sure you’re covered in the event of a breakdown

So, you’ve checked your fuel levels and tyre pressure and you’re confident that the engine is in good working condition. It’s almost time to pack up the car and get the family seat-belted up. But before you set off on your road trip, are you sure that you have breakdown cover? The last thing you want on a long journey is to evacuate your loved ones from the hard shoulder – but sometimes, a breakdown is inevitable. Make the living nightmare a little smoother by ensuring that you have valid breakdown cover, and bring the documentation with you – just in case.

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Are you looking to upgrade to a new set of wheels this summer? Wherever your journey may take you, make sure it’s with The Car Loan Warehouse. Check out how much you could afford to borrow with our obligation-free car finance calculator.

Apply for car finance now to avoid the hefty upfront costs for your new vehicle. Why wait? Apply online today and we’ll get back to you within the hour with a decision!

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About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.