RAC is urging drivers to check their vehicles thoroughly before setting off on any journey this summer after seeing a sharp rise in weather-related breakdowns during the mini-heat wave.
In the last week RAC patrols have experienced an 80 per cent increase in call-outs to vehicles that have overheated as a result of cooling fan issues. There has also a surge of incidents relating to convertible roofs (78 per cent), sunroofs (69 per cent) and air conditioning compressors (56 per cent).
Fifty per cent increases have been recorded for issues relating to steering locks and coolant sensors. In addition, the number of caravan and trailer calls has risen by 42 per cent on the summer norm.
And, with the schools out for summer holidays and the 2012 Olympics getting underway, there is the potential for these figures to keep on going up as traffic is expected to be at an all-time high.
Drivers looking to prevent their vehicles getting hot under the bonnet this weekend should carry out the following checks before setting out:
- Check all wiper blades for wear or splitting, check the windscreen washer fluid level (screen wash additive is also recommended) and check that the washer jets are adjusted correctly
- Check oil and coolant levels following the instructions in the owner’s handbook
- Check the electric cooling fan. Run the engine until it’s up to temperature and the cooling fan should cut in when the engine is hot
- Have the cooling system checked – a leaking cooling system or inoperative cooling fan could cause the vehicle to overheat and cause extensive damage to the engine
- Have the auxiliary belt (sometimes called the fan belt) checked on a regular basis by your local dealer/garage
- Check the operation of all exterior lights to ensure they comply with any legal requirements, especially if you’re travelling to Europe
- Check the condition of the tyres (including the spare) for correct pressures and legal tread depth. The current minimum legal tread depth for cars and light commercial vehicles (up to 3500 kg gvw') is 1.6mm
- Ensure all dashboard warning lights operate correctly. If not, consult your owner's handbook or call your local dealer
- Inspect the jack and wheel brace making sure they are in correct working order. If locking wheel nuts are fitted, ensure the locking key is safely stowed away in the vehicle. It may be useful to practice changing the spare wheel, following instructions from your owner's handbook
- Make sure you have a spare set of keys for your vehicle in a safe place
- If you plan to take a caravan, check the tyre condition and the braking system
- Never overload your vehicle or caravan beyond their designed carrying capacity
To view these tips online visit: http://www.rac.co.uk/news-advice/car-knowledge/what-to-do-if/post/2012/7/enjoy-driving-this-summer-8211-with-rac/
RAC also recommends that you carry these essentials in your car:
- A first aid kit
- A high quality torch. Preferably with long life and spare batteries
- A warning triangle
- A high visibility vest/jacket
- A fire extinguisher
- A spare fuel can
- A light bulb kit
- Additional engine oil and water (for topping up)
- An up to date road map or sat navigation system
Wherever you’re going:
- Plan your journey to avoid getting lost or getting stuck in traffic jams
- Take plenty of water and refreshments and take regular breaks
- Take sun cream in case you break down, especially abroad
- If you have children, take some games you can play in the car during the journey
- Take extra supplies of medication, you may not be able to get them if you’re abroad
- Have sufficient rest. Working long hours then driving is a recipe for disaster
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Notes to Editors
With around seven million customers, RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists. Whether it's roadside assistance, insurance, vehicle inspections and checks, legal services or up-to-the-minute traffic and travel information – RAC is able to meet drivers’ needs.
RAC is committed to providing the very highest levels of service to its customers and ranked first for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power and Associates' UK Roadside Assistance Study 2006 to 2009. RAC was also the top-named breakdown organisation in the July 2009, January 2010, July 2010 and July 2011 half-yearly UK Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service.
Which? Recommended Breakdown Services Provider September 2011 and RAC Insurance has also been awarded the Best Overall Vehicle Insurance Provider 2010/11 by themoneypages.com.
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