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Driving in hot weather

Preparing for long drives in hot weather

Some car troubles can be exacerbated by an increase in temperature. Take your car’s cooling system for example. If you have any existing problems relating to your coolant system (for example a faulty cooling fan) this could be magnified by heat and traffic, which could cause your car to break down.

A big piece of advice for motorists is if your engine begins to overheat or you notice a loss of coolant, it’s essential to have it investigated immediately. By doing this you’ll almost certainly prevent further damage and costly repairs.

For those heading off for the June bank holiday or getting ready to take their car somewhere like France this Summer our advice is to run through a check list before you head off...

  • Engine Coolant: Before starting your journey, make sure the engine’s cooling system has enough coolant (antifreeze & water mixture); this should be done when the engine is cold. Then when driving, check the coolant temperature gauge from time to time to make sure that it remains in the normal range.

    If the gauge goes excessively high, it could lead to engine failure. Stop driving as soon as is safe to do so. Never remove the radiator cap or any part of the pressurized system until the system has cooled fully as steam and boiling water can spray under pressure and cause severe injury.
  • Engine Oil: The engine oil helps keep the engine cool, as well as lubricating it so it’s a good idea to check it before you head off on your trip. When taking your oil level reading make sure that the engine has not been started for at least 10 minutes and that the oil level is at the correct mark on your engine dipstick. Instructions for checking your oil level can usually be found your owners handbook. And I’d remind drivers also that it’s important not to overfill your oil levels.
  • Tyre pressure and cond ition: Before you go, check your tyre pressure when the tyres are cold as the pressure will rise as the air expands with heat. The correct tyre pressure can normally be found on the inner side of the petrol flap or the driver’s door pillar on a sticker or in your owner’s handbook. It is also important when checking tyre pressure to carry out a visible inspection of the tyre wall and tread, check for any unusual cuts/bulges or uneven tyre wear. The AA recommends a minimum tread depth of 2mm.
  • Windscreen washer fluid and water: During hot weather, drivers will encounter a lot more airborne insects and plant matter while driving. So it’s a good idea to use a good washer additive to remove debris from your windscreen.
  • Windscreen wipers: Wipers can become brittle, causing cracking and tearing from over-exposure to sunlight during the Summer. They also may have been damaged by the recent harsh winter.
  • Windscreen Cleanliness: Bright sun or light reflections on a dirty windscreen can interfere with you visibility, therefore it is essential to keep your windscreen clean inside and out in sunny or adverse weather conditions. Driving towards sunrise or sunset can impair visibility; the use of your sun visor or appropriate sunglasses can maintain a clear view of the road ahead.

AA Ireland Limited trading as AA Insurance is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.