Avoiding Breakdown: 4 Summer Car Care Tips
As the summer holidays approach, we’ve lined up our top tips to help you avoid breaking down this summer.
How to avoid the most common kinds of breakdown this summer
You’ve just set off on a journey, the sun is shining, your favourite music is on the radio, the kids are all playing eye-spy with enthusiasm and no one has uttered the dreaded ‘are we nearly there yet?’ UNTIL – the car breaks down and it starts to rain and then everyone starts to bicker!
To help prevent your dream journey turning into a nightmare we’ve listed 5 reasons for summer breakdowns and how you can avoid them.
1 – Battery issues
Long journeys in slow traffic, often with the whole family’s entertainment devices plugged in, can be hard work for your car’s battery. Coupled with the fact we often do shorter journeys while on holiday – this can lead to batteries wearing out.
Prevention is the key with this kind of breakdown so look out for the following warning signs:
- Check the age of your battery. The RAC recommend that you replace batteries every 3 years
- Avoid taking lots of short trips – try to build in a longer journey to fully charge your battery
- If your battery is older, consider charging it once a week. The RAC have a good guide on how to charge a battery
2 - Alternator
Alternator issues are closely related to battery problems. Hotter weather and the demand of powering up multiple in car devices will put a strain on your alternator. If you notice the red battery warning light flickering or lighting up then pull over as soon as safely possible and call your breakdown service.
Alternator replacements aren’t cheap or quick unfortunately and you’ll need to prepare yourself for a trip to the garage while your car is fixed.
3 – Clutch
Heavy, slow moving traffic isn’t kind to your clutch either. Nor are the frequent hill starts that cars are required to do more often in the summer as we drive through scenic, often hilly roads. However, the most common cause of a failed clutch is towing. Pulling a heavy caravan up a hilly road in slow traffic and you’ve almost got a written invitation for your clutch to fail.
It’s very rare for clutches to just fail. They often show signs of wear, such as slipping, a heavy or gritty feeling when you press the clutch or a change in biting point.
If you suspect that your clutch is wearing then get it serviced before heading off. If you plan to tow a caravan, make sure it’s correctly loaded and that your car has the correct towing capacity.
4 - Tyres
Tyres are prone to punctures and blow outs if not properly looked after. Both of which can be time consuming at best and potentially dangerous.
The good news is that they are easy to prevent by carrying out some simple checks:
- Make sure you check your tyre pressure regularly and keep it topped up to the recommended PSI level. If one tyre drops pressure more than others it may be a sign of wear
- Check the rubber all around the tyre for cracks, rubbing and signs of wear
- Make sure you have at least the legal minimum tread on your tyres
Even with the above checks, a misplaced nail or patch of broken glass can result in an untimely puncture so ALWAYS make sure you have a spare tyre with you. At least then you can make a quick change and be back on your way again.
Before you head off on your holiday this summer make sure that you have up to date breakdown assistance. If you are an esure customer, you can add RAC breakdown assistance to your policy today by calling us on 0345 045 1000
Lines are open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-5pm and Sun 9am-2pm