The Sun is shining, the sky is clear and the roads are open! It’s nearly summertime here in the UK, so what can you do to help your car and driving be at their best?
We’ve arranged some top tips to combat the summer sun, with some help from The Highway Code, so take a look and see how you can make the most of driving in the British summer.
Keep your vehicle well ventilated to avoid drowsiness. When you get warm, you get sleepy – and that’s not what you want behind the wheel! Your passengers might not like it, but it’s better to be safe and a little bit chilly than be in an accident due to drowsiness.
Be aware that the road surface may become soft or if it rains after a dry spell it may become slippery. We all know that the British summertime can never happen without a good amount of rain – it’s why we appreciate the sun so much! However, even if you don’t venture out until it’s dry, roads can still hold water and be slippery until much later after a rainy spell. These conditions can affect your steering and braking, so try to be as careful as if it was still chucking it down.
If you are dazzled by bright sunlight, slow down and if necessary, stop. Although chasing those hours of sunshine is important, being dazzled by sunlight while driving can cause an accident as many drivers will avert their eyes or squint – impairing their vision. Sun visors and sunglasses can help to remedy this, but if you’re finding it too much it’s ok to pull over and wait a little while until the sun’s position has changed.
As well as The Highway Code, we’ve also got some more general tips which may come in handy this summer.
Beer Gardens – Don’t be tempted! There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink in the sunshine, but if you’re driving, don’t have any alcohol. Many groups now use a prearranged ‘designated driver’, but if you take your car to the pub and decide to drink while there, get a taxi or a lift home – it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t leave your pet in your car. Although you can open a window, the temperature inside a car can soar compared to that of the air outside. Animals can become dehyrated and suffer greatly, even if you think they haven’t been there for a long time. Check out the video below to see how being locked in a vehicle on a hot day affects a person – imagine this being your dog!
As well as looking after yourself, look after your car! Here’s some handy maintenance info to keep your car in tip-top shape.
Check your fluids. Make sure your car’s oil, water and screenwash are at the levels they should be, and that you have plenty of engine coolant – you don’t want to overheat your engine and leave yourself stranded.
Maintain your tyres. If you’re doing extra miles to make the most of the summer, that means extra wear and tear. Check your tread depth is above the legal limit of 1.6mm and there aren’t any bald spots, bulges, or tears around the circumference of the tyre or in the tyre walls.
Test your brakes. In the summer there tends to be more people on the road, and that means more hazards. Caravans, cyclists, bikers and horse riders make the most of the nicer weather, so be prepared for the unexpected! Cautious driving might mean an extra 5 minutes to your destination, but it’s much safer for you and other road users.
Finally, if you really want to make the most of this summer, then we’ve got one final piece of advice for you – HAVE FUN!
Don’t forget that if you want to get your car ready for some summer driving, you can use our handy map to find your local Trust My Garage member, operating under a Chartered Trading Standards Association approved consumer code. They’ll help to ensure your car is safe and ready to hit the road to catch some sun.
Are you the proud new owner of a 63 plate? A new car is a significant investment so you will want to make sure that it is properly maintained. But where is the best place to get quality regular servicing at value for money prices?
The proud owner may ask themselves…
“If I buy a new car I can only use the main dealer for servicing and repairs so that I don’t infringe my warranty”
Wrong! Under European Law the Block Exemption Regulations give you the right to have your vehicle serviced, maintained, and repaired at an independent garage of your choice without invalidating your warranty – TRUTH!
Also, did you know that recent research undertaken by the Independent Garage Association revealed that Main Dealers can be up to £40 an hour more expensive than independent garages.
So, having experienced the joys of your new driving machine and all the latest innovative technology and gadgetry that the manufacturers have designed to make your motoring safer, more comfortable and even more enjoyable, you want the same quality support when it comes to vehicle servicing.
Although taking your car to a Main Dealer might be the normal thing to do, you can equally get a professional and honest service and pay a reasonable price for parts and labour from a good independent garage.
There are thousands of quality independent garages that are perfectly competent to service newly manufactured cars. They have full access to manufacturer information and operate equipment and tools that can analyse faults on your vehicle and with quality parts and trained staff, independent garages are able to offer you safe and clean mobility throughout the entire life cycle of your car. Taking your brand new car to an independent garage will not invalidate your warranty as long as the garage services the vehicle according to the manufacturer’s schedule using parts which are of “equivalent quality”.
Most of the parts which are fitted to a modern car during routine servicing are not made by the vehicle manufacturer themselves anyway. Parts such as brakes pads and oil and air filters which are supplied to vehicle manufacturers for OE (“Original Equipment”) fitment are usually available with the actual makers branding at significantly lower cost – so they are not just “equivalent quality” , they are identical apart from the box they come in.
How am I affected?
As a consumer you are no longer forced to rely on the vehicle manufacturer as the exclusive supply source for parts and repair services for the aftermarket care of your vehicle. Your car is your property and the law enables you to choose exactly who carries out the work on your car.
Even if your car has an electronic service record held digitally in the vehicle manufacturer’s systems, the same rules give the independent garage the right to access and update the record to keep your vitally important service history intact.
Why go to a TRUST MY GARAGE approved independent garage?
The Independent Garage Association recently polled over 2000 of its members on their labour rates and results concluded, that independent garages ‘continue to offer motorists the very best value for money.’ Figures from the poll show that the average labour cost is slightly over £40 for independent garages, and the most recent Warranty Direct annual Labour Rates survey demonstrates that average labour rates for franchise garages stand at a national average of £95.94, with some franchised dealers charging a staggering £55.94 an hour more than independents.
Access to technical information and quality parts
Although independents cost a significant amount less that main dealers there is no compromise on the level of expertise and parts. All TRUST MY GARAGE members have access to the same level of technical information and quality parts. Training is also no different and most independent garages train their staff to the same levels as main dealers.
No car is a challenge
TRUST MY GARAGE members are specialists in all makes and models and work to very high standards continuing to achieve key industry standards set by TRUST MY GARAGE.
A more personal service
Independent garages are renowned for their friendly faces and high customer retention levels. All TRUST MY GARAGE members pride themselves on the personal service that they provide their customers with, in order to increase the level of trust between them. The TRUST MY GARAGE customer charter states that all garages must explain the work they do clearly and treat customers and their vehicles with respect.
So if you’re now thinking again about where to take your new car for a service, find your local TRUST MY GARAGE member HERE without worrying about invalidating your warranty!