The heat is on
Australia seems to be getting hotter every Summer. Those soaring temperatures that stifle the months of January and February have become merciless. It’s over this time your car requires a little more summer loving to keep cool. Here are a few things you should know to make the Summer holidays trips a breeze.
Overheating on hot days is one of the most common causes of cars spoiling your fun in the sun. That’s why it's crucial to check the radiator for coolant to help keep the engine at low temperatures. Carry extra coolant if you need to top up on a long road trip. But remember, wait till the engine has cooled before opening the radiator cap.
Give your belts and hoses a good once-over for signs of wear and tear. If they look brittle, dry or loose have them replaced. Depending on the age of your car, you may want to have your water pump checked by a mechanic.
If you’re planning a road trip or two on the Summer holidays and are in-between services, it won’t hurt to have your oil replaced, as it plays a big role in cooling your engine.
If you notice your temperature gauge rising, turn off your air conditioning to relieve the strain on the engine. If you can bear it, turn the heating on full, as it will divert the heat away from the engine. It could be the trick that gets you to the next town. Otherwise pull over somewhere safe, don’t open the bonnet and wait for help or until the engine cools down.
We all want to jump into our cars and blast the air conditioning. But try and keep your cool, as there are ways to make your A/C work faster and more effectively.
Open the windows and drive for a few minutes to allow hot air to escape
If not using the automatic mode, start with a lower setting, as turning it up to maximum levels will lead to faster wear and tear
Always use the recirculation option to ensure hot air from outside isn’t being pulled in. With the interior cooling, the air conditioning won’t have to work as hard to continue cooling
It can be a long time between service stations and towns depending where you're heading. So, keep plenty of extra water and a few snacks in the car for the trip. You'll be thankful if you ever find yourself on the side of the road.
No summer holiday for tyres
While you're making yourself comfortable and cool in the car, outside your tyres are feeling the heat. Long distance driving in searing temperatures and a heavy holiday load can be testing on the rubber. There are a few simple things you can do to check your tyres are up for the ride.
Walk around the car and do a visible check for any cuts, tears, bulges or worn tread. The legal minimum tread depth for cars is 1.5mm across the central three-quarters of the width of the tyre, and across the entire circumference. Before your tread gets as low as this, or even with the wear indicator bars moulded at the bottom of the tread grooves, you’ll need to replace the tyre.
Make sure tyres (including your spare) are properly inflated to vehicle specification. Under-inflated tyres on long high speed freeways in the heat can cause a blowout. Check your owner's manual or label inside the driver's door for correct pressure.
If you are heading off on a bit of a journey and clocking up the kms, it's not a bad thing to rotate your tyres before heading off. It will give them better, even wear on the open road as the front pair tend to wear out faster.
Your tyres are hugely important when it comes to keeping you and your family safe on the roads. If you’re ever not sure of something, it’s best to consult an expert at your local Bridgestone Store.
Like some sort of summer migration, caravans, jet skis, boats and trailers towing all sorts of things suddenly appear on the road. Your path to rest and recreation becomes congested with families and car loads of friends travelling at the same time, so be extra cautious during summer holiday time. And as a last tip - never drive with your arm out the window, apart from being illegal, it can get badly sunburnt in a very short time before you know it.
Ever broken down in the scorching Australian sun? Have any favourite tips for long Summer drives? Tell us your experience and join the conversation on Facebook.