Summer Motoring Tips - Manby Motors - Louth, Manby, Lincolnshire

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Summer Motoring

Summer Motoring

Well, with this summer forecast to be one of the hottest on record, it’s that time of year when most of us take longer car journeys than usual, in sometimes hot and sticky weather, on roads and motorways we don’t usually travel on and very often stuck in traffic.  This a number of uncomfortable and tense hours sat in a very small space!  Now add in those that are towing a caravan or trailer, or even those of us who are even worse and decide to do all the above, complete with a couple of squabbling kids in the back seats and sometimes the odd dog or two in the back!!  Let’s be honest, it’s not a journey most of us look forward to, but by following a few top tips it could be made to be a little easier….


PLAN YOUR ROUTE:  Plan your route in advance, check your sat nav, maps or whatever method of navigation you are using.  If possible, beat the rush and travel early in the morning, if not then try to plan alternative routes to avoid any known traffic hotspots that way you have an back up plan.


GET YOUR VEHICLE CHECKED OUT:  If possible, try and time your service for a couple of weeks before your journey, that way if there are any issue’s arising they can be dealt with in plenty of time.  If your service isn’t due, it is worth booking your vehicle in to be checked over for any underlying problems before you travel.  This simple measure could save you a costly breakdown/repair bill if something were to go wrong during your journey, being based in a tourist area, we do see this happen all too regularly during the summer months.


CHECK YOUR LEVELS:It is important to check your engine levels and especially coolant levels, just before you set off.  Your handbook should have details on how to do this on your specific vehicle, or if you are unsure, then why not call in and we can show you how.  This simple check could help you avoid overheating your engine.


VISIBILITY:  One of the main hazards of summer driving is poor visibility; this can be caused by a number of things, dust or bugs on your windscreen or the sun directly in your eyes whilst driving at dusk or dawn.  It is very important to check the level of your windscreen fluid and keep it topped up using a good windscreen wash containing insect remover in it.  You should also check your windscreen wipers as hot weather can be extremely detrimental to the rubber on your blades, and who knows… you may need these to keep your visibility to a maximum during a heavy summer shower, or to keep your windscreen free of dust.


A good pair of sunglasses is a must for driving in, polarized to reduce the glare from glass and water, with the very best ones having photochromic lenses which react to light.   


CHANGE DRIVERS REGULARLY OR ARRANGE REGULAR STOPS:  Driving in hot weather can give you headaches and even make you tired, so make sure you try and change drivers at least once every 3 hours during daytime driving, and 2 hours at night time.  If there is only one driver, then make sure you arrange plenty of rest stops (about every 20 minutes) which allows every body to get out and stretch their legs, freshen up and if you have your dog with you, an ideal opportunity to let them out and give them a drink and a bit of a walk around.  Dogs can get very hot very quickly in cars, so make sure you take plenty of cool water for them to drink.  Never leave your pet in a hot car, they can overheat and dehydrate very quickly in the hot summer months.


ENTERTAINMENT FOR ‘LITTLE ONES’:  Make sure you have Ipods, Nintendo’s, Playstations, MP3 players etc charged up ready for the journey.  If you have a portable DVD player, have a good selection of films at the ready.  A pillow is sometimes useful for your little one’s to have a sleep which will give you some much needed peace & quiet! 


The most common problems encountered on vehicles during the summer months are:


PUNCTURES & BLOW OUTS:  It is worth checking for any damage or cracks to your tyres as high summer temperatures heat the rubber up and aggravate any existing damage to the rubber, which can lead to blowouts and punctures.  Check your handbook for correct tyre pressures for normal driving and also for under load if you are towing or carrying a lot of extra weight.


ENGINE OVERHEATING:  If your temperature gauge starts to rise, this could indicate that your engine is started to overheat.  Turn off your air con, turn on your heaters – full heat at full speed (this takes heat away from the engine and into the passenger compartment) and then pull over as soon as you can.  Once you have stopped, turn your engine off and leave it to cool down completely before checking your coolant level.  By leaving the engine to cool, you are not only avoiding the risk of burns and scalds, but coolant when heated expands pushing it up in the reservoir and thereby giving a false reading.  If your levels are low, then top up with coolant up to the indicator mark.  Overheating engines causes intensive and expensive engine damage.