Coolant

Expert advice: summer car checks for a safe, reliable getaway

summer car checks
Carry out our checks to help ensure a trouble-free trip (Picture iStock/Solovyova)

Now’s the time when most of us are either going away or preparing for our summer break. And it’s when our cars come into their own as a trusty family workhorse. Below are six basic summer car checks you can carry out. They’ll only take a couple of minutes and will ensure your car performs safely and reliably while you’re away.

If you’re worried about anything, don’t hesitate to book your car in for some professional attention. Alternatively, you could take your car for one of Green Flag’s free vehicle health checks. But in the first instance, read on to see the six summer checks I think you should perform.

Pump up your tyres

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Expert advice: how to check your car’s fluids

fluids
It might look complicated but checking fluids is a simple task that anyone can do (Picture iStock/Ljubaphoto)

During lockdown, there’s every chance you won’t have been using your car as much as usual. Before driving it again regularly, it’s a good idea to check it and its fluids thoroughly.

All cars rely on fluids to operate properly. And it’s simple to check oil, coolant, brake fluid and screenwash. Follow my tips for doing so below.

When you’re checking a car’s fluids, it’s important that you park on a flat surface or you may think you haven’t got enough when you have, or more worryingly, vice versa.

How to check your oil

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Expert comment: our New Year’s resolutions will help prevent breakdowns

New Year's resolutions

Do you keep to your New Year’s resolutions? Or do you forget them as soon as you’ve made them? No matter how quickly you give up going to the gym three times a week, I hope you’ll stick to the five resolutions here. Not only might they save you a heap of money before the year’s out; they could also prevent you having to sit at the roadside in a conked-out car.

Some recent research found that millions of drivers don’t even perform the most rudimentary maintenance to prepare their motor for winter. Here’s a handful of checks that will keep your car motoring long after memories of New Year’s parties have faded.

New Year’s resolution 1: check the oil

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All you need to know about coolant and antifreeze for your car

Coolant

The colder the weather gets the more drivers should consider the coolant in their car. This is because engines need liquid circulating through them to keep cool. But freezing weather can turn that fluid to ice, rendering it useless.

Coolant is vital because when a car is going at speed, pistons travel at around 40mph, shafts whizz round and bearings are under extreme pressure causing heat to build up. To stop this becoming so intense that metal parts begin welding themselves together, coolant is used. Here’s all you need to know about it.

Is coolant the same as antifreeze?

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Expert advice: what to do with an overheating car

Overheating

Overheating cars used to be a familiar sight, stopped at the road side, bonnet up, steam pouring from the engine. Thankfully it’s not so common now as cars in general have become more robust.

But overheating – when the engine’s water literally boils – does occur. Here we look at why, what you can do if your car does overheat, and offer some tips on how to prevent it.

Why do cars need water?

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