Staycation car preparation
With many motorists planning a holiday on the British isles, consider that staycations are far from restful for your car. Heavy loads, warm weather and long journeys, especially at high speeds, place certain parts of a vehicle under greater stress than usual.
We hope that these five tech tips help to reduce the chance of a breakdown, or an accident, from ruining your holiday:
1 Servicing – Especially if your car has not been serviced within the last year, book it into a garage, who will replace the vital fluids and advise on any extra work. If your car has not covered many miles this year but was serviced before the summer, consulting your garage for a check-up is not a bad idea.
2 Auxiliary Belts – Checking modern multi-ribbed belts is more involved than just looking for cracks, or splits. Ask your garage to check if the auxiliary belt(s) are in good condition, because most car manufactures do not specify a replacement interval. If the belt breaks, it can tangle itself with the cambelt (if fitted) and, if the cambelt breaks, the engine is likely to be destroyed.
3 Brake fluid – brake fluid absorbs moisture over time, which is why it should be replaced every two years but not all owners bother. The result is that the brake fluid’s boiling point reduces, which can cause the pedal to sink to the floor as the brakes fail under sustained use. Especially if you are looking to travel to a hilly region with a fully-loaded car, and expect prolonged braking on heavy descents, have your brake fluid changed before you leave.
4 Coolant – With warmer weather, higher speeds and frequent air conditioning use, the cooling system is placed under extra strain. With a cold engine, check that the coolant level is correct and that there is no evidence of leaks, or split pipes. Dependent on the car’s age, the coolant requires changing every 2-8 years to maintain its anti-corrosion properties.
5 Tyres – Check your tyres for tread depth and signs of perishing. Consider that a heavily-loaded vehicle tends to require higher inflation pressures, so check your handbook for advice to reduce the risk of tyre overheating and subsequent failure. If your car possesses one, do not forget to check the spare wheel’s pressure and ensure that all tools are present and the lifting jack has not seized.