How To Be Prepared For Driving Long Journeys In The Heat
With the UK experiencing some of the hottest weather this week, it’s important to be prepared for summer driving. Embarking on long journeys in hot weather may not sound as bad as driving in snow or heavy rains but anything can happen. From road closures, accidents or breakdowns, you could be faced with a slew of problems.
While it may be a scorcher in the UK at the moment, it doesn’t happen all too often especially compared to other parts of the world. Regardless of the weather, a lot can go wrong and you should always err on the side of caution. With that, let’s look at some of our summer driving tips to leave you and your family prepared for anything.
Preparing For Safe Summer Driving
First and foremost, you should ensure that your car is tip-top condition and ready to take that long trip. The last thing you want is to break down in the middle of nowhere, baking in the searing heat. You don’t necessarily have to get a full service, especially if it is not due, but at least book a FREE summer safety check at any of our Elite Garages.
Why You Should Book A Free Safety Check
A safety check is essential to keep you, your family and other road users as safe as possible. A well-conducted safety check could identify potential issues before they become serious problems at a later stage. Detecting even minor faults early one could help avoid potentially fatal problems while on your journey.
It is important to do all the necessary summer driving checks to prepare for driving in the heat. This includes air conditioning, coolant levels, battery, tyres and radiator. After conducting a free safety check, our expert technicians will give you a full report sharing any known issues along with a no-obligation quote for repairs if needed.
Plan Ahead And Stay Hydrated
Before leaving, make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and remember to pack a car charger as well. While you may not need it, it is wise to keep some extra cash in your wallet in case of emergencies. And as far as possible, try to plan your route according to fuel consumption and available petrol stations. This way you don’t have to keep checking your levels and be concerned about running empty.
There may be shops at some petrol stations along the way but we recommend that you always pack extra water. There should be more than enough for all the passengers and your pets. Even though caffeinated drinks help keep you awake, they are diuretics and can actually dehydrate you. You also shouldn’t drive when you tired; rather pullover or let someone else take the wheel.
Check Your Battery
Just as cold weather affects your battery, hot temperatures also put additional strain on your battery, especially when using the air con. Most batteries today are maintenance-free but if your battery still has caps, check the level and top up if necessary. If you have a maintenance-free battery, inspect them for any cracks or leaks. Regardless of the battery type, you should clean any corrosion from the terminals and secure all connections. This will ensure that the battery is firmly in place and safe from vibration.
Check And Clean Your Windscreen
Windscreens are your eye to the road and should not be cracked or chipped in such a way that obscures your vision. Summer driving involves the sun remaining on the horizon for longer often making it difficult to see in the evening. Clean your windscreen and visor and if necessary, fix or replace it for a clearer and safer journey.
You should replace the coolant for your radiator periodically and its best to check your owner’s manual for more information. Between services, you can also check the coolant level by checking the plastic reserve tank connected to the cooling system. You should see a low and high level mark on the side of the reservoir and the coolant should ideally be between the two.
When checking the coolant level via the radiator cap, always do so when the engine is cold. Removing the cap when the engine is hot will result in the coolant spraying out under pressure resulting in serious burns. If the level is low, add coolant but be sure to follow your owner’s manual for instructions.
Engine, Oil and Other Fluid Levels
Driving in hot weather places a heavy demand on all your engine components and not only your cooling system. Check that your engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid are at the recommended levels before setting off.
It’s recommended that you change your oil around every 3000-5000 miles. A handy tip is to check the oil at least once a month and change it if it’s dark brown. Unless your brakes are faulty, brake fluid doesn’t often seldom needs refilling but check the level often especially if there any anomalies while braking
Check Tyre Condition
We’ve been talking a lot about tyre safety recently and it certainly applies to summer driving as well. You should check your tyre tread, tyre pressure and overall condition before hitting the road. Remember your spare, if your car has one, and make sure you have the car jack and tools to change a tyre.
Under-inflated tyres flex more, which causes a heat build-up and in hot conditions, they are more likely to fail. Over-inflated tyres are just as damaging, dangerous and expensive. When you overinflate your tyres, they essentially have a smaller contact patch leading to a loss of traction and longer braking distances.
Check the tyre tread depth and if they are close to the wear limiters, consider replacing. You could use a tyre pressure gauge or the 20p coin test. Here is a short video on how to properly check your tyre tread.
If your car has air conditioning but it is not working as well as it should, get it checked by a certified technician. Some signs to look out for include a bad smell, strange noises, visible leaks and no longer blowing cool air. You can also arrange an air-con check at Elite Garages and have the peace of mind knowing your car is ready for anything.
Emergency Kit And Self-Care
Last but certainly not the least, make sure that you have a well-stocked emergency kit in your car. It should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a torch with extra batteries, road warning triangles, basic hand tools, high-visibility jacket and a first aid kit. Considering the serious heat we’re experiencing, wear and bring extra sunscreen and a hat just in case you need to spend time outside the car
Safe Summer Driving With Elite Garages
Don’t compromise on your safety with poor quality car services, cheap tyres and bad advice. Put your trust in Elite Garages as we provide quality services you’d come to expect from a family-owned and managed company. We offer greater value with no hidden costs or small print. Make the right choice and book your FREE safety check with us today for a fun, safe and relaxing summer.
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