In general, breakdowns in the summer seem to be linked to cars overheating, jammed fuel caps, air conditioning faults, problems with convertible roofs, cooling related issues. In order to avoid a breakdown this summer, we will provide you with a checklist to tick off before hitting the road.
- Refer to the instructions in your owner’s manual to check coolant and oil levels.
- Check windscreen washer fluid, (its also recommended that you use a screen wash additive) washer jets have been correctly adjusted and that wiper blades have not split or worn.
- If you have a convertible roof then be sure to check its operation. This is especially important if its not been opened for a while. It is also important to know how to manually open and close the roof.
- Its an idea to get the engine cooling fan checked to see if its operating as it should as this is a part that only runs when needed.
- Make sure that the fan belt (auxiliary belt) is regularly checked by your local garage/dealer.
- Check that all dashboard-warning lights are operating correctly. If you come across any issues then refer to your cars handbook or take the vehicle to your local garage. Additionally, check the operation of all lights, which are exterior. Make sure that they adhere to what is legally required. This is especially important if you plan to travel into Europe.
- Ensure that tyres are in good condition. Check the tread depth and pressures (including the spare). 1.6mm is the current legal tread depth for cars and light commercial vehicles.
- If you tow a caravan then be sure to check the condition of the tyres. Tyres are likely to deteriorate quite quickly if they have not been used for a while so it’s worth checking for cracks in the sidewalls. Equally, it’s important to check the braking system (coupling gear, brake lights and indicators). Finally never overload your caravan/ vehicle and make sure that the caravan is balanced and the load has been distributed according to the manufactures’ guidelines.
- Carry a spare set of keys in a suitable safe place.
- Get the cooling system looked at. If the cooling system is leaking or the cooling fan is not working properly, the vehicle could overheat which in turn could cause a great deal of damage to the engine. A final point to note is that vehicles with air conditioning can leave a small amount of water on the ground. This is perfectly normal and is purely linked to condensation from the air conditioning system.
If you’re driving an older vehicle and are thinking that it’s getting to an age where it’s likely to start causing you problems – you’re probably right. It can sometimes be a false economy to hold on to a vehicle for too long. Repair & maintenance costs can actually outweigh the purchase of a new car. If you are fortunate enough to be in a position where you can buy a car and get rid of your existing motor – it could be worth considering.