In all weather conditions and particularly in extreme heat, checking the engine coolant level is paramount. Explanations.
In the “verify the levels” section, the engine coolant element is essential and the inevitable. A rather easy operation which, if forgotten or even neglected, can have really bad consequences both for your security as well as your wallet.
Easy and necessary operation
The purpose of the coolant is to cool the engine but also to protect it from internal corrosion. First of all, it is important to know that the coolant is changed on a flat surface and with the engine being cold (otherwise there is a risk of spraying boiling water).
Inspection is carried out at the expansion vessel. A good reading of this level corresponds to an average between the references “mini”(-mum) and “maxi”(-mum). By checking it regularly, you can maintain the volume effectively but you have to change it about every 3 years.
On the other hand, if the level of the coolant is below the “mini” mark, it is very likely that a leak exists. The consequence? Engine overheating combined with damage to the cylinder head gasket. The solution? Take your vehicle to a professional.
If the coolant level is close to “mini”, you can add liquid if your car is less than five years old. However, do not overfill with pure water as this may cause the cooling circuit to become scalded and will be ineffective against frost in winter. In almost all cases, it is, of course, advisable to use a suitable liquid, whether it be of manufacturer origin or corresponding to the needs of your vehicle.
Coolant: good to know
If you are having to fill your coolant very frequently, a leak may be the cause. First, change the expansion tank cap. If the problem is not resolved, consult a professional! Find a car garage to do the repair.
We remind you of the rules of common sense for long journeys starting or returning from vacation.
Check your car before departure …
- Some liquid levels: washer, oil, cooling, brake (when possible, otherwise it done by a garage)
- Tire pressure because under-inflated tires = danger!. The tires must be inflated, preferably cold, pressure recommended by the manufacturer (hot, add 200-300 grams). Pressures are recorded in the service book, the edge of the left front door or fuel door of the car.
- Tire wear: tread depth of a tire must not be less than 1.6 mm, otherwise the handling of the car is dangerously disturbed and risk of aquaplaning increases.
- You can also make the tires checked by a mechanic or a tire professional.
- Lighting, signage and visibility: when dirty, your lights and headlights can reduce lighting efficiency by 30%! The day before, clean the windshield (outside and inside), all other glass surfaces (mirrors and lights) and replace wiper blades if necessary.
- The mirrors must be set correctly.
Have it checked by your mechanic …
A week before departure, make an appointment with your mechanic. This professional can make a diagnosis of braking elements (pads, discs and brake fluid), steering, shock absorbers (for the handling and ride comfort) and adjustment of the engine (carburetor, ignition system cooling …). he may also set your lights and check the condition of tires (not forgetting the spare) and wipers.
To be continued…
(post created with the support of road safety. http://www.preventionroutiere.asso.fr
Clean windows = good vision !
When you washed your car the last time, did you take the time to clean your windows? On the outside and the inside?
We often only come to that conclusion afterwards but having clean windows is, in fact, much better (and safer). It is even more obvious when you follow drivers who have not taken good care of theirs in a while – while yours are squeaky clean… . And I am talking about all the windows of the vehicle; the windscreen, the rear window, the side windows, front and rear, and also the rear-view mirrors that we tend to forget but which are extremely important.
To do well, I advise you to use a normal window cleaning product, a sponge, a squeegee and a cloth.
The steps to a good cleaning:
- Thoroughly wet the glass with the window product
- Use the sponge and vary directions in order to leave no dirt, nor marks
- With the squeegee, wipe the glass so as to leave as little product as possible (rinse the squeegee on the sponge to avoid drops)
- Finish with the cloth (or several) wiping firmly and vigorously to erase all traces of water
That’s all! In four simple steps your window is clean and you only have to move on to the next one! Be careful, however, when it comes to the mirrors as some are motorized and therefore more fragile.
I do often spend more time on the windows than on the car body; I do not want to leave a trace! In my opinion, it is important to have a complete view of what might come my way and to be able to see far behind.
This piece of advice is offered by Luc, eiverNaute since 2014.
Do ensure your car is checked and serviced regularly
Have your car fully checked and serviced every 45,000 kilometres: Mechanical parts not being serviced or checked regularly may impact not only the durability of your car but also your fuel consumption which could increase by 15% compared to a car which is properly serviced.
Change oil on a schedule: Failing to changing oil regularly will have an impact on and decrease your engine’s performance. This leads to an increase of fuel consumption and damages your engine.
Check and change air filters: A damaged or blocked air filter may increase your fuel consumption by 10%.
Ensure saving in the long term by spending some time and money from time to time.
Take good care of your engine and your car
Taking good care of your car, especially its engine, reduces the risks of breakdown and accidents as a well-serviced vehicle will respond better on the road. It is also a way to save money as the residual value of your car will be higher if it is in good shape.
Our first recommendation is to check the level of oil quite often. Once a week behind a good frequency. To do so, the car must be stationary and horizontal with the engine having been stopped for at least 15 minutes. On the gauge, the ideal level is as close to the maximum as possible without ever being above it.
For some types of vehicles, burning a slight amount of oil when driving is normal. However, a steep decrease in the level is the sign of a problem. You have to keep in mind that an engine’s lifespan depends strongly on the frequency of the oil changes. Following the car maker’s recommendation is crucial. These information being to be found in the user manual of your car. On average, an oil change must happen every 7,500, 10,000 or 15,000 kilometres, depending on the car brand. The oil filter must be changed as well, either at every oil change (for diesel cars) or every two oil changes.
Back to checking and filling the oil. You must pay attention to the following two points:
Firstly, when opening the plug (careful if it is still hot) ensure that it is clean on the inside and not covered with goo. This would otherwise signal humidity or a leak of some liquid inside the engine.
The second point, when pouring the oil, make sure to ensure that it is compatible with the “old” one. Also, do not pour everything in one go as it may take a bit of time for the lubricant to go down the pipe.
As an extra piece of advice, if you do not feel comfortable doing so, just book a service at a garage. A little spending now may help you save later.
(Source article via Automobile Club Association – https://www.automobile-club.org )
Keep your car lights working and stay safe
Keeping an eye on your car lights is crucial. You should regularly check them and ensure all are fully functional; in particular the lights indicating that you are stopping. It is necessary that you replace every broken or dead light bulb. You should also replace the ones becoming weak in order to avoid facing them breaking down while you are driving.
It is also recommended to change the car lights covers immediately if these are cracked as it could let water in and create serious damages.
As regards lightbulbs, ensure you always have a box of spare ones in the car. That is something police forces may control.
Please note that even though they look quite similar, the various lightbulbs (for headlights, indicators, etc.) do have specificities. For instance, their power is not the same. When changing a lightbulb if you find yourself applying force, please double-check as the type of lightbulb may not be the right one.
Fashion also comes into play. With the trend to have white indicators on cars, the orange colour then depends on the lightbulbs which are tinted to keep the standard colour when in comes to warning and changing direction. But with time, the varnish may wear off and the bulb colour change to yellow or even white.
At last, do not hesitate to make use of your car’s lights even during the day. A car with lights on is a lot more visible on the road; and a lot safer.
(Article inspired by Automobile Club Association : https://www.automobile-club.org )