When learning to drive we were all told about the dangers of driving in the winter and how to prepare for those tricky situations in the rain, snow and ice. However, it is just as important to prepare for driving during the summer, especially in the peak holiday season when sometimes the weather can get extremely hot and roads can be jam packed!
Hot weather combined with high speeds can be damaging to cars and overtime, this could lead to the most common cause of breakdown in the summer - overheating. To prevent your car from overheating, you should keep an eye on the coolant levels on a weekly basis, possibly daily if you are making long journeys regularly. We recommend that you book your car in for a service before you go on a long journey to check the coolant hoses and drive belts. The oil levels also need to be checked because oil is the lifeblood of your car and it helps make all the engine parts run cool, clean and smooth.
If you don’t have time to book your car in for a service, here are a few tips to help you maintain your car throughout the summer months;
Keep your vision clear
A dirty windscreen covered in dust can hinder your view of road dramatically, therefore it is always important to keep your windscreen clean and store plenty of washer fluid to get rid of any dirt and dead insects. It’s best to avoid using the wipers on a dry windscreen, as the dust and grit can cause scratches.
If your wipers are not cleaning efficiently, it could mean that the rubber on the wiper blades are damaged from the extreme temperatures in winter. If this is the case, they should be replaced immediately because a thunderstorm in summer requires a set of fully working wipers!
Look after tyres
Before setting off on a long drive, check your tyre pressures when the tyres are cold and inflate them to the correct level stated in your car manual. Make sure the tyre tread is above the 1.6mm limit, as it can play an important part in summer downpours and thunderstorms when the road surface could be slippery; the last thing you want is your car aquaplaning.
Check the brakes
The most important safety feature on your car is the brakes, and you should check the lining on your brake pad or brake shoe to see if it is worn out past minimum thickness. Brakes can make a squeaking sound frequently, which is normal as it’s caused by moisture on the brake pads. If you hear a grinding or scraping sound when you apply pressure, the noise can indicate metal-to-metal contact so you will need to get them looked at my a professional technician to ensure they cause no further damage.
Inspect the air conditioning
Check to see the air conditioning fans have not become clogged up, otherwise this could put extra pressure on the car’s electrical system. If they are not working efficiently, this could mean that the air filter needs replacing which is extremely beneficial as it can improve your car’s fuel mileage which can make a 10% difference on long distance driving.
Clean the battery
We suggest detaching the cables and cleaning the battery regularly, as this can prevent it from overheating which is caused by the heat from the sun which can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery. This can damage the lifespan of the battery by overcharging or evaporating the battery fluid which can be extremely costly to fix.
We hope our summer car tips help! If you have questions about your vehicle or you wish to get a health check before you go on holiday, you can book an appointment here or contact our either our Silverlink, Ashington, Sunderland or Durham Richard Hardie dealership.