Summer Car Maintenance Tips
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Summer Car Maintenance Tips

As the mercury rises and summer approaches, many UK car owners underestimate the strain that hot weather can put on their vehicles, leading to potential breakdowns and unexpected repair costs if proper maintenance is neglected.

Have you ever considered the strain the summer can put on your car? Check out our Summer Car Maintenance Tips to help you!

The RAC note they often receive a 20% influx in out-calls during this period. People generally drive further in the Summer months and vehicles become more prone to needing repairs. So, whether it’s radiators boiling over or air conditioning struggling to cope here are a few things you can do to prevent an unexpected visit to your local garage this Summer.

Don’t Let Underinflated Tires Ruin Your Summer Road Trip

While it’s always important to check your tire pressures before embarking on a long journey, it’s especially crucial during the summer months. As temperatures rise, so does the risk of underinflated tires, which can pose serious safety hazards on the road.

How Summer Heat Affects Tire Pressure

During the summer, car tires can lose pressure faster due to the higher temperatures of British road surfaces. As the tarmac (or concrete road surface) heats up, the air inside your tires expands causing the internal pressure to increase. However, as you drive, the heat then causes the air to gradually escape through the tire’s walls leading to underinflation.

The Dangers of Underinflated Tires

Driving with underinflated tires can have a few negative consequences for you:

  • Decreased handling: Underinflated tires are less responsive and make your vehicle harder to control, especially at high speeds or during sudden manoeuvres.
  • Increased braking distances: Tires with low pressure have less grip on the road, which can significantly extend your stopping distance in an emergency situation.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency: Underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, forcing your engine to work harder and consume more fuel.
  • Increased wear and tear: Driving on underinflated tires puts extra stress on the tire’s sidewalls, leading to premature wear and a higher risk of a blowout!

Maintaining Proper Tyre Pressure

To ensure your tires are properly inflated, always refer to the recommended pressure level listed in your owner’s manual or marked on the driver’s side door jamb sticker or fuel door. It’s a good idea to check your tire pressures at least once a month, or before any long road trip, adjusting them as needed.

Don’t let underinflated tires ruin your summer driving experience. Your tires will thank you!

Watch Your Coolant Levels

Overheating (and the risk of) is a much more serious issue during the summer months. There are a few key reasons for this:

  1. Less Cool Air: In the summer, there is less cool air available to dissipate heat from the engine. The engine has to work harder to maintain optimal operating temperatures.
  2. Higher Ambient Temperatures: The air around the vehicle is hotter, making it more difficult for the cooling system to effectively remove heat from the engine.
  3. Increased Engine Load: Many drivers use air conditioning much more during the summer, which puts additional strain on the engine and cooling system.

Don’t be one of the Six Million…

According to the AA, over six million motorists in the UK risk facing costly repair bills by failing to regularly check their coolant levels. To prevent your engine from overheating and potentially suffering serious damage, it’s highly recommended that you check your coolant fluid level at least once a week, especially during the summer driving season.

In addition to checking coolant levels, it’s important to have your cooling system periodically serviced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. This typically includes:

  • Flushing and replacing coolant at the specified intervals
  • Inspecting and replacing worn or damaged hoses and belts
  • Ensuring the radiator and cooling fans are functioning properly

By staying on top of cooling system maintenance and checking coolant levels frequently, you can significantly reduce the risk of an overheating-related breakdown especially during the hot summer months.

Don’t Sweat It – Get Your A/C Serviced

Can you imagine navigating the scorching/humid British summer heat without the comfort of a properly functioning air conditioning system in your vehicle? For most drivers, the thought is unbearable. That’s why it’s so important to keep your car’s A/C well-maintained and operating at peak efficiency.

How Often Should You Service Your A/C?

To ensure your vehicle’s AC system continues to provide cool, comfortable air all summer long, we recommend having your air conditioning serviced at least once every 18 months or 30,000 miles. If you notice any signs of underperformance, such as reduced cooling power or strange noises, it’s best to have it checked out right away by a qualified technician.

The Benefits of Regular A/C Servicing

Regular maintenance of your vehicle’s air conditioning system offers several key benefits:

  • Improved cooling performance: Proper servicing helps ensure your A/C is blowing ice-cold air, even on the hottest days.
  • Increased energy efficiency: A well-maintained A/C system uses less fuel, saving you money at the pump.
  • Extended system lifespan: Regular servicing helps prevent costly repairs and extends the overall lifespan of your A/C components.

Allergy Relief with A/C Filters

For those who suffer from hay fever or other seasonal allergies, your vehicle’s air conditioning system can provide a welcome respite from pollen and other irritants. Many cars come equipped with cabin air filters that help trap these particles before they enter the cabin. Be sure to have these filters replaced as part of your regular A/C servicing to ensure you can get some relief whilst driving.

Don’t Let Worn Wipers Ruin Your Summer Driving

The unpredictable nature of the British summer means you never know when a sudden downpour will strike our roads. While the sun may be shining one moment, a torrential rainstorm can roll in the next. Having reliable, well-functioning windshield wipers is essential for maintaining clear visibility and safe driving in these conditions.

Inspect Your Wiper Blades for Signs of Wear

Over time, the heat and UV rays of summer can cause your car’s wiper blades to degrade. As a result, they may not make proper contact with your windscreen leaving streaks and smeared insect remains behind. Inspect your wiper blades regularly for any signs of wear or damage, such as:

  • Cracking, drying or splitting of the rubber
  • A hardening or glazing of the wiper blade edge
  • Uneven or frayed wiper blade edges

Replace Worn Wiper Blades as Needed

If your wiper blades are showing their age, it’s best to replace them before the next British downpour. Replacement blades are usually inexpensive and easy to install at home. Simply consult your owner’s manual for the correct size and type for your vehicle. If you’re unsure about the replacement process, it’s always best to have a professional car repair technician handle the job.

Keep Your Windshield Washer Fluid Topped Up

In addition to maintaining your wiper blades, it’s important to ensure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is adequately filled throughout the summer months. Dirty windshields are common during this time of year due to increased construction, pollen, and other airborne debris. Having a fresh supply of washer fluid on hand will help you quickly clear your windshield and maintain clear visibility. Don’t let worn wiper blades and empty washer fluid reservoirs catch you off guard this summer. Stay prepared for sudden rain showers by regularly inspecting your wipers and keeping your washer fluid topped up. A few simple maintenance steps can go a long way in ensuring your visibility and safety on the road.

Protecting Your Car’s Paintwork from Sun Damage

The intense UV rays of a UK summer can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s paintwork causing it to fade, while also damaging other materials like upholstery and plastics. Taking a few simple precautions can and will help preserve your car’s like-new appearance for years to come.

Park in the Shade

The best way to shield your car from the sun’s harmful rays is to park in a shaded area whenever possible. If you don’t have access to covered parking, look for spots that provide natural shade, like trees or buildings. Avoid leaving your car parked in direct sunlight for extended periods and if you do be careful touching seat belts on your return. If you park under trees then do check for any bird muck that may have landed on it whilst you were away, this too can damage car paint and lacquer and remove it at the earlier opportunity.

Use a UV-Blocking Car Cover

If you’re not able to find a shaded parking spot then consider purchasing a high-quality car cover designed to block UV rays. Look for one made from breathable, lightweight fabric that won’t trap heat or moisture. Ensure your car is completely dry before covering it to prevent mould showing up on the paintwork.

Beware of Summer Road Hazards

The majority of road maintenance work in the UK is carried out during the warmer/hotter/drier months, often leaving behind dust, debris and loose gravel on the road, perfect for chipping windscreens and car paint! To minimise the risk of damage to your car or others always drive at or below the advised speed limit when traveling through road repair sections.

Protecting your car’s exterior from the elements is an important part of summer car care. By parking in the shade, using a UV-blocking cover, and driving cautiously through work zones, you can keep your vehicle looking its best all season long.

Summer Road Trip Essentials Checklist

Are you planning a long drive this summer? Maybe down to the south of France or out to a British beach? Be sure to pack these essential items to ensure a safe and comfortable journey:

Navigation

  • GPS device or up-to-date Road Atlas (most cars have in-built Sat nav these days but not all) . Also don’t use your phone unless it’s secured in a cradle!
  • Helps you find your location and can also navigate unexpected detours or traffic jams caused by congestion or accidents

Hydration

  • Plenty of bottled water – at least 1 litre per person, more if its really hot
  • Staying hydrated is crucial if you experience a breakdown or delay

Entertainment

  • Games, books or toys for the kids
  • Helps prevent boredom and restlessness on long drives

Emergency Kit

  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Torch
  • Reflective triangle
  • Jumper cables

You never know when an emergency may strike, so it’s best to be prepared, the above isn’t a legal requirement but it’s a good idea to carry the above just in case.

Other Essentials

  • Sunscreen and insect repellant
  • Sunglasses (and protective case)
  • Tissues and wet wipes
  • Plastic bags for taking your rubbish home with you
  • Mobile phone charger
  • Umbrella – heh it is the UK! 😉

By packing these essential items you’ll be well-equipped to handle any situation that arises during your summer road trip.

Enjoy Summer Motor Maintenance with Autocare

If you have any questions regarding summer driving tips or need your vehicle fully serviced before you travel; call us now on 01291 627137.

Happy and safe Summer travels!

LEAVE A COMMENT

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5 COMMENTS

  • Deidra Monika
    November 24, 2018, 6:45 am REPLY

    In summer season, the vehicles have to bear the extreme heat of sun. So to reduce the excess heat, we should check the level of coolant as it helps to cool the engine. If it’s level is found to be lower then we should top it off. Besides this, we must check the oil level, check all other fluids, check the tire pressure, check the brakes. Air conditioning system is of utmost importance during summer. If the AC is not providing sufficient cool air or there is any leak in the AC system or it is having any other problem, then we must visit a certified auto repair center for AC repair.

  • Yoshiko Flora
    April 2, 2019, 2:03 am REPLY

    I find it interesting when you said that a driver should have a supply of windscreen washer and brake fluid in their car to prevent them from running ours during a trip. With that, my suggestion is to take it to a local auto shop to have their brakes inspected once every three months. Doing this will help its owner have its defects repaired and prevent it from breaking down in future road trips.

  • Daisy Renn
    May 2, 2019, 12:17 pm REPLY

    I do agree that the coolant level should be inspected prior to the arrival of the summer. The cooling system protects the engine against the extremely hot temperature of the summer. Lack of an adequate amount of coolant could not protect the engine from extreme temperature. So, the coolant level, as well as other components of the cooling system, should be subjected to inspection prior to the arrival of the summer. Any sign which indicates that the cooling system has some sort of abnormalities should not be ignored. The reason behind the appearance of such a sign needs to be identified and repaired in time to keep the vehicle in working order.

  • Josephine M. Gilham
    May 3, 2019, 6:05 am REPLY

    Thanks for your great post!

  • Akshay
    May 7, 2019, 6:53 am REPLY

    Hi,
    Congratulations for the new Post
    Yes, It is absolutely Right to check car maintenance time to time. Whether it is about tires, car oil, brakes, battery and many more.Thanks for sharing. Have a nice Day

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