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The AA warns

24 August 2011 No Comment

Those professional pedants at the AA choose this week to remind us just how lax we have all been with our maintenance and servicing this summer. It might make vaguely miserable reading to reflect on ‘what we might have done better’ – there are echoes of the school report here – but there is a serious point to be made about our apparently self-willed failures.

The AA’s point is that, if we’d only carried out a few basic checks, a lot of breakdowns could have been avoided. It’s hard to believe perhaps that we, as a British motoring public, have already been guilty of 57,000 punctures, 14,000 overheated cars and 8,000 drowned or missing keys.

And whilst you might be forgiven for dashing into the sea with your keys in your pocket – as has happened 8’000 times this year – there are even steps you can take to minimise the impact of this mistake.

Obviously sea water and electrical circuitry don’t make the best of playmates. But do check out the alternative method of getting into your vehicle without the key fob. This can be read in your manual, if you haven’t locked it in the car already of course.

Overheating cars aren’t necessarily due to excessively hot weather. As you might have gathered from the number of overheating cars above and the usually tepid state of our national weather.

AA patrolman Keith Miller says: “Cars often overheat if the cooling fan has seized, say through lack of use, so when you get caught in traffic, the fan doesn’t draw air through the radiator. If you don’t spot the warning signs and turn off the engine expensive damage can be caused.”

Decoded this means that if you have been on holiday somewhere nice and left your car standing around, make sure you check it over before driving it as normal.

Check the fan is working, for example, by running the car up to normal temperature before allowing it to idle for around five minutes. The fan, you should find, will cut in automatically.

The fact that the AA has been called out to a greater than usual number of punctures is perhaps a consequence of the credit crunch rather than anything else. People are perhaps not changing their tyres as often as they used to.

This summer the AA has attended around 57,000 tyre-related calls.

Keith Miller again says: “Ideally check tyre pressures every couple of weeks – and certainly before any long journey or if you have a big load in the car – using a reliable and accurate gauge when the tyres are cold.”

There is an annoyingly simple way to check your car is in good condition – Flower Power.

All acronyms are annoying of course but this one stands for: Fuel, Lights, Oil, Water, Electrics and Rubber.

By following this simple mantra you will save yourself time and, most importantly, money. For however flippant you want to be about the right of a man to neglect his own vehicle, in times of financial recession you need perhaps to better covet those previously more disposable things.

And if the worst comes to the worst you can rest assured that your AA cover will efficiently help you out with any holiday enthusiasm-related lapses you may find yourself subject to.