The big clean is almost over, the pruning is finished. Your garden, terrace or balcony is looking its best. And inside too, everything is sparkling like new. In short: let the beautiful days come! Days when you can get away from it all.
To be frank, is your car ready for the best months of the year?
In this blog post, we take you through a few points of attention that will soon provide extra summer driving pleasure, in complete safety. Are your seatbelts fastened? Go!
Changing your tyres for summer
When winter comes, many drivers automatically think about snow, the risk of skidding and ... winter tyres. Yes, right? Good habits are also needed in spring: time for changing to summer tyres!
Why change tyres?
Simple: Winter tyres perform best below 7°C. In a number of countries they are also mandatory - a must if you are going on a winter holiday. However, when it gets warmer, winter tyres ensure longer braking times and are therefore less safe. Due to the specific composition of the rubber, they also wear faster. Your (fuel) consumption increases and that is bad for the environment. Driving with winter tyres is not prohibited in Belgium and the Netherlands but is also not recommended.
From March/April to November, summer tyres (or ‘high performance’ tyres) are recommended.
They adhere well to the road, give you more grip and protect against aquaplaning.
When should you change? As soon as the weatherman regularly predicts 10°C, which is usually around the beginning of summertime.
Please note! If your vehicle has winter tyres with the M+S marking (no 3PMSF marking) and a speed index lower than the maximum speed of your car, you may usually only drive these tyres from 1 October to 30 April. So change by 1 May!
Check your tyre pressure
While we’re on the subject of your tyres, don't wait for a warning light on your dashboard to come on to think about your tyre pressure. Scraping on to the side of the footpath once can be enough to loosen a tyre and put you at risk.
- Check the tyre pressure specified in your vehicle documentation.
- Check the tyre pressure with a device at a petrol station.
- Do you have a heavier load than usual? Add some extra tension.
Tip: Many drivers check their tyre pressure once a month. As a result, they always take to the road with peace of mind.
Check your oil level
Do you drive on petrol or diesel? Checking the oil level, just like checking the tyre pressure, is a good habit. Not only in the run-up to summer, but also all year round. It is best to check the oil level with a cold engine. To do this, dip the stick into the reservoir and see if the correct level is reached. If necessary, supplement to the maximum.
Check coolant and brake fluid
Another to-do that you can carry out when the engine is cold, just like the oil level check. Check if there is enough coolant in the reservoir and top up if necessary. Because an overheated engine is guaranteed to put a damper on summer fun.
The same goes for brake fluid: if the level is below the minimum line, then it is time to top up to the maximum.
Windscreen wiper fluid OK?
It is essential for your safety to have enough windscreen wiper fluid in the reservoir, especially when insects, pollen and dust prevail in spring and summer. So always keep a stock of the right fluid in your car.
And don’t drive for too long with the same windscreen wipers. In many cases, they haven't been wiping properly for a long time before they are replaced. Only the right windscreen wiper fluid and wipers in good condition guarantee optimum visibility.
Tip: do you ever forget to check all these fluids? Put some checking dates in your calendar.
Air conditioning OK?
Air conditioning is absolutely indispensable on sunny days. It is strange that this very part of the car is sometimes forgotten during a service.
The consequence: misted up windows, harmful moulds and high repair costs.
And you will then find yourself in a sweltering hot traffic jam on a beautiful sunny day!
Prevention is better than sweating. Plan a check-up for your air conditioning at the garage. It’s best to do this at a time before you go on a trip or go on holiday. The level of the coolant drops by 8 to 10% every year. This results in loss of pressure so the air conditioning in the car cools less effectively. If the coolant in the car air conditioning drops below 70%, the chance of a faulty air conditioning system increases.
Vehicle documents at hand?
A defect or an accident is always possible. Because no, Murphy isn't sitting idle because summer’s coming. And then you certainly don't want to experience the panic of having to search for the breakdown number by the side of an unfamiliar road. And/or the correct car documents.
Tip: check beforehand whether you have all the necessary information and documents at hand.
Keep cool. Because you have AlphaGuide.
Download the free app on your smartphone. The AlphaGuide app offers you (and the authorised users of your vehicle) a wide range of services and support. Your insurance? Check! Reporting damage in case of accidents? Check! Service partners who can help you? Check!
Would you like to drive extra safely and comfortably in the warm months?
Plan your change to summer tyres in good time, traditionally at the start of summertime, this year on 27 March. Alphabet is ready to answer all your tyre questions!