We all know how important it is to look after ourselves when the weather hots up. We lather on the sun protection, grab our hats and sunglasses, and always make sure we’re properly hydrated by drinking lots of water. But it might be easy to forget your car needs special treatment in the summer sun too.
1. Check the fluids
It’s important to check coolant levels and engine oil levels weekly, but the brake, clutch and power steering fluid can all be checked monthly. However, before you set off on a long drive (as many of us do during the summer holidays) double-check all of these before you set off. And of course, don’t forget to top up the windscreen washer bottle with the correct fluid regularly.
2. Prioritise your air conditioning system
Nobody likes being stuck in a boiling hot car on a long journey. If your system hasn’t been working properly but you’ve been putting it off over the winter, now is the time to get it sorted. It is recommended that systems are regassed every two years. If you suspect you have a leak, make sure a qualified mechanic fixes it before paying to have the system recharged. Something else you can try if your car is feeling particularly warm is a solar-powered car fan which can be mounted on an open window (bear in mind this might not work if you have tinted windows).
3. Remember your tyres are under pressure in the summer
Car tyres are more susceptible to blowouts in the summer months. This is because drivers are often driving along on hot roads with heavier loads for longer periods of time. Both under-inflated tyres and over-inflated tyres are at risk. Under-inflated tyres are running the risk of the lack of air pressure putting the tyres’ components under increased strain, whereas over-inflated tyres are more likely to hydroplane in an unexpected rainstorm. Make sure you’re checking your tyre pressures regularly (when they are cold) and keep an eye out for improper tread wear and anything else that could result in a puncture.
You should always prepare yourself properly if you’re travelling long distances in the warmer months. Be sure to pack plenty of water and refreshments, and take regular breaks (you could even research service stations along your journey before setting off). Packing sun protection in case you break down is also important, as is taking some games for the kids that they can play in case of long delays. And whether it’s summer or winter, spring or autumn, remember to always rest sufficiently before travelling. Stay safe and enjoy your Summer!