Your car will always need a bit of care and attention throughout the year to make sure it’s in tip-top condition. However, it’s worth noting that it needs special attention during the warm summer months.
Follow our tips and you should be ready to face anything the summer sun brings.
Summer vehicle maintenance tips
Air conditioning system
Now that Britain is experiencing high summer temperatures more frequently, having a working air conditioning system in the car is a necessity. You certainly don’t want to get stuck in a motorway traffic jam in 30-degree temperatures without one.
Aircon takes the warmth and moisture out of the air inside the car, replacing it with cooler, more pleasant air. Many modern units can also help reduce pollen levels, thanks to clever filters, which is a real godsend to anyone in the car suffering from hay fever.
Because moisture passes through the air conditioning system, bacteria and mould spores can build up in the system if it hasn’t been used regularly, while the pollen filter might also be blocked and need replacing. Most systems also lose around 15% of their refrigerant gas every year, so it's also a good idea to have your air conditioning serviced every two years, to keep it in peak condition.
Engine coolants and fluids
The AA estimates that around six million motorists could face repair bills in excess of £1,000 because they don’t check the coolant levels of their car’s engine regularly enough.
Once a week, owners should therefore check the level of the car’s coolant, which not only prevents overheating in the summer, but also freezing in the winter, as well as corrosion in the engine. You should do this check when the engine is cold, making sure that the level is between markers indicating the minimum and maximum levels.
But engine coolant isn’t the only fluid that should be checked regularly in summer. The brake, clutch and power steering fluids in your car also need to be monitored – once a month at least, or before a long trip. Speak to your mechanic to get advice in how to check these on your car.
And even if it doesn’t rain as much in the summer (theoretically, at least), you’ll be cleaning splatted insects off your windscreen, so top up your washer bottle frequently.
The air pressure in your tyres is affected by increases in air temperature, so hot weather can lead to their overinflation. This means tyres get worn quicker and a greater strain is placed on any weak areas, so punctures and blowouts are more likely.
The key thing to remember is to check tyre pressures regularly (aim to check them every couple of weeks), especially if the mercury starts rising, and look out for any tread wear and defects in the sidewalls.
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