With a little planning and preparation, you should be able to reduce the risk of a breakdown and keep stress levels to a minimum.
High temperatures can aggravate cooling system problems too. Low coolant level, leaking hoses and broken electric cooling fans can all result in overheating and expensive damage.
If the fan is broken it will soon become apparent when you meet slow moving traffic and engine temperature soars.
- Check the coolant reservoir level regularly
- Look out for wet or white staining on coolant hoses
- Check the fan by running the car to normal temperature and allowing the engine to idle for five to 10 minutes – the cooling fan should cut in automatically.
High temperatures can aggravate any existing damage to tyres. Under-inflation adds to the problem causing friction and more heat which can prove too much for weak spots, causing punctures or blow-outs.
- Check tyre condition and tyre pressures, adjusting for extra load if appropriate.
- Check caravan tyres for cracking and renew damaged tyres before use.
Some further car checks you can make before you set off:
- Check all wiper blades for wear or splitting, check the windscreen washer fluid level.
- Check oil and coolant levels following the instructions in the owners handbook.
- Check the electric cooling fan (see above). Run the engine until it’s up to temperature and the cooling fan should cut in when the engine is hot.
- Have the cooling system checked – a leaking cooling system or inoperative cooling fan could cause the vehicle to overheat and cause extensive damage to the engine.
- Have all auxiliary belts and or fan belts checked on a regular basis by your local garage.
- Check the operation of all lights to ensure they comply with any legal requirements, especially if you’re traveling to Europe.
- Check the condition of the tyres including the spare for correct pressures and legal tread depth. The current minimum legal tread depth for cars and light commercial vehicles is 1.6mm
- Ensure all dashboard warning lights operate correctly. If not, consult your owners handbook or call your local Garage.
- Inspect the jack and wheel brace making sure they are in correct working order. If locking wheel nuts are fitted, ensure the locking key is safely stowed away in the vehicle. It may be useful to practice changing the spare wheel, following instructions from your owners handbook.
- Make sure you have a spare set of keys for your vehicle in a safe place.
- If you plan to take a caravan, check the tyre condition and the braking system.
- Never overload your vehicle or caravan beyond their designed carrying capacity.
Have A Great Summer From PTA Garages Services
Many car manufacturers choose Goodyear tyres for their latest models. Starting at the early stages of new vehicle model creation Goodyear works together with car manufacturers to drive technology and innovation into reality.
Goodyear aims to bring these new vehicles to the next performance level. These performance attributes range from braking distance to environmental impact. Car manufacturers test, approve and choose Goodyear tyres for their new vehicle models. Goodyear tyres are chosen by BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, LandRover, Nissan, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Peugeot, Ford, Opel, Renault, Saab, VW, Chrysler, Toyota, Skoda and Seat.
Before taking to the roads this Summer, you can take several simple precautions to keep your family safe and save money at the fuel pumps. Extreme heat and long drives can be tough on cars. Cracked hoses, leaky radiators, under-inflated tyres and dirty filters can significantly lower your fuel efficiency, or worse, lead to a total breakdown.
Tyres are one of the most overlooked parts of a car. Under-inflated, over-inflated, worn or misaligned tyres can be extremely dangerous, particularly in hot summer weather. Don’t forget to check your spare tyre.
Belts and Hoses
Check hoses for cracks, leaks and loose connections. The most vulnerable parts of the hose are those nearest to clamps where the hose connects to the radiator or the engine.
Belts can also be visually checked for cracks and damage. Take note if the belt looks excessively shiney or smooth.
Cars are designed to run hot, but there’s a limit to how hot they should run. A combustion engine is most efficient at around 93 degrees Celsius. If an engine is allowed to get too hot, moving metal parts can actually start to melt and fuse together, causing a variety of internal problems for your engine. For summer driving, coolant should be added as a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. You can even buy pre-mixed coolant so you don’t have to bother with the measurements.
Oil is the lifeblood of your car. It keeps your engine parts running clean, smooth and cool. Most owners manuals suggest that you change your oil and oil filter every 7,500 miles . Most of us do a lot of heavy driving during the summer when an engine is more likely to overheat. So at least check your oil before you head out on that road trip with your family.
Over the winter, your cars air filter can get clogged with salt and other debris. A clogged air filter can lower your fuel efficiency. Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter can improve your mileage by as much as 10%. If your air filter really dirty, then it needs to be changed. Air filters are relatively inexpensive.
The best way to keep your battery running smoothly is to keep it clean. Regularly detach the battery cables and wipe off the terminals. Make sure the battery is strapped down tightly and that all connections are secure. If you suspect that your battery is being overcharged or isn’t holding a charge well, take it to any branch of PTA Garage Services so we can run a quick battery inspection. If you suspect that your battery is being overcharged or isn’t holding a charge well, take it to a service shop where they can run a quick battery inspection. And if you need to replace the battery, make sure that it’s the right battery type for your specific make and model of car.
Winter can be tough on windscreen wipers. Ice, snow, salt and extreme temperatures can cause cracks and tears in the rubber which in turn lowers the effectiveness of the wipers. If your wipers are leaving visible streaks or take several passes to clear away light rain, they need to be replaced.
Brakes need to be replaced when the lining on your brake pads or brake shoes are worn down past the minimum thickness specified by your car manufacture – You can have your brake linings checked at any branch of PTA Garage Services. The following are some signs that your brakes need to be checked or replaced.
Your brake pedal becomes very soft and spongy
Your brake pedal is very hard or needs a lot of pressure to stop
Your brake pedal rests too low or too high
Warning lights on your dashboard
Loud and constant scraping and grinding sounds coming from the brakes
The most common cause of a malfunctioning air conditioning unit is a low level of refrigerant. This could be caused buy a leak somewhere in the system. Since modern air conditioning systems are complicated, PTA Garage Services can check out any problems and recharge the system if required.
Tyre labelling for passenger cars, vans & light trucks will come into effect from 1st November 2012 under European Regulation (EC) No. 1222/2009.
This new regulation will bring a major advance in consumer information on tyre safety (wet braking) and the tyre’s impact on the environment (rolling resistance and external noise).
The graphics on the label may be familiar as they are already used for household appliances and more recently for new cars, but what are the benefits for consumers?
Compare fuel economy
Use this diagram to see how a tyre performs on fuel consumption.
Fuel-efficiency is graded from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient).
Save up to £110 or 80 litres of fuel over the life of the tyres. That’s for a car fitted with four A-rated tyres driving at 50mph – it uses 7.5% less fuel than with G-rated tyres.
Results can vary with type of car or climatic conditions but the performance gaps are proven.
Compare braking on wet roads
This chart grades a tyre on how well it brakes in wet conditions. Performance scales from A (the safest, stopping in the shortest distances) down to G (least safe, with longest braking distances).
Stop up to 4 car lengths shorter. For a car fitted with four A-rated tyres driving at 50 mph, stopping distance can be up to 18 metres or 30%1 shorter than with G-rated tyres.
Compare external noise level
This diagram shows you a tyre’s noise level in decibels (dB). The 3-wave pictogram tells you
how it rates in relation to future European mandatory limits. Tyre noise heard outside the car doesn’t necessarily relate to what you hear inside the car.
3 black waves = Noisier tyre. Level greater than the future limit but complies with today’s noise regulation
2 black waves = Average tyre. Noise level equal to or below future limit by up to 3 dB (A)
1 black wave = Low noise tyre. Noise level 3 dB (A) or more below future noise limit
3dB doesn’t sound much but it is actually double the noise level!
When choosing tyres
Labelling is a good start, but 3 other performance factors are just as important for you:
Tyre longevity: a longer lasting tyre can cost you less in the long run. The right tyre could give you more than a year of extra driving compared to another tyre.
Road handling performance: 25% of accidents are on bends.
Dry braking performance: 70% of accidents occur on dry roads.
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