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How to prepare for the summer heat

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    Long distances, often with a load in tow, mean our tyres will come under increased pressure to stand up.

With days getting longer and warmer it's a good time to begin thinking about checking our car ...

... for the coming hot weather once summer arrives and our thoughts turn to the long drives to our summer holiday destinations.

The last thing we want is to be stuck roadside with steam gushing from an overheated engine and the family quietly fuming away beside us. It's worth taking a few minutes to check the car to make sure everything is in good shape for the hot road ahead.

Long distances, with a load in tow, mean our tyres will come under increased pressure to stand up. Start by checking the tread depth to make sure there's plenty of tread to move water away from the tyre contact patch should we get caught in a sudden summer downpour.

At the same time look for any uneven tyre wear across the tread face, carefully examining the shoulders of the tyre for excessive wear that might indicate a suspension alignment issue that needs to be addressed.

While you're at it check the spare tyre and make sure it's ready to go in the event you have a puncture on the way. Many cars today have temporary use spares, or even run-flat tyres, so it's worth reading up on the limitations of them before you hit the road. That way you will know what to do if you have to fit one on your journey.

Summer also means higher temperatures and that puts higher stress on our engines and transmissions, stress that is made even higher if we're towing. Servicing both the engine and transmission will help avoid the breakdowns and delays that can ruin our holidays.

Pay particular attention to the cooling system. Make sure it's topped up with the correct coolant, not water, and check for leaks. Most cars are fitted with thermostatically controlled cooling fans that come on at a predetermined temperature to keep the engine from overheating. It's worth checking that it is operating correctly.

Take the time to clean bugs and anything else that's accumulated on the radiator so the radiator can work at its most efficient, and check for leaks.

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