Summer has well and truly arrived, and we're finally able to load up our boots, hit the open road and enjoy the sunshine.
However, what many drivers don't realise is that the summer heat brings with it just as many threats to cars as the winter chill. It's crucial to to keep on top of summer car maintenance to avoid a summer breakdown and to prevent your holiday plans from being ruined.
Our guide to summer driving has all you need to know to beat the heat, keep your vehicle in tip-top shape and your sun-filled road trips on track.
Common summer car problems
Some of the most common summer car problems are:
- Weak batteries
- Engine overheating
- Broken air conditioning
- Low tyre pressure/ burst tyres
- Fuel leaks
- Worn windscreen wiper blades
Car batteries are placed under extra strain in the summer due to:
- Increased stop-start activity, such as traffic and short journeys.
- The whole family using plugged in car devices (mobiles, tablets, sat navs).
Warning signs that your battery is ageing is:
- Slow starting.
- Lights appearing dimmer.
- Lights taking longer to turn on.
- Not all electrics work.
Prevent summer car battery problems by:
- Replacing it before a summer road trip if it is over three years old.
- Be mindful of multiple short journeys during the summer.
- Check and charge your battery at least once a week for regular short trips.
- An overheated engine can cause major mechanical problems.
- In the summer, is it vital to make sure that your car has enough engine coolant to prevent overheating.
- This ensures the water in the radiator doesn't evaporate.
- Check engine coolant levels every two weeks.
- Look out for the coolant reservoir, the symbol looks like a key floating in water (add graphic of logo).
- Ensure the level is between the 'min' and 'max' markers on the side of the tank.
Broken air conditioning
The last thing you want is to be caught out with broken air conditioning (AC) ahead of a summer road trip.
- Test it way ahead of your summer trip.
- If you're getting hot air when you turn your AC on, add a refrigerant to your car to give your system a boost.
- If this doesn't work, get your car straight to a garage.
Before heading on long summer road trips, make sure you check your tyre pressure. Achieving an optimal tyre pressure reduces the risk of blowouts, which can be extremely dangerous.
- Look for signs that your tyres are under or overinflated.
- Look out for cracks or distortions if the rubber.
- Check out your tyres for tread depth and damage.
- If one tyre regularly has a lower pressure than the others it could have a slow puncture or a faulty valve.
- Check your car owner's manual to check what your specific tyre pressure range should be.
- Make sure you also check the air pressure of your spare tyre as a just in case - you never know when you might need it in an emergency.
Did you know?
Poor preparation leads to more blowouts as tyres should be checked before any long journey. Tyre blowouts often occur on caravans and trailers in summer months.
Summer driving tips
Did you know?
You become dehydrated more quickly in hotter temperatures? Stock up on fluids for your journey and stay hydrated.
- Take plenty of rest stops if driving for long periods.
- Stop over at a hotel if you feel yourself getting too tired.
- Apply sunscreen before your journey - the sun's UV rays coming through your windows and windscreens can damage your skin if you're not protected.
- Allow plenty of travel time and expect longer journeys.
- Keep a spare pair of sunglasses in the car to prevent glare.
Free Summer Check
As summer is the time of year you likely put the most stress on your car, why not take advantage of a Free Summer Check and avoid being 'that' family stuck spending day one of their holiday on the side of the road!
Available to our Owner Club Members, our Free Summer Check includes:
- Free tyre check
- Fluid levels
- Air con
- Seat belts?
Beat the heat and enjoy a safe journey this summer!
Find out more about our Free Summer Checks here.