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As we enter the warmer months, we wanted to share our top tips for summer car care to keep your car in the best condition possible.
To help you look after your car we’ve put together our best practices for your car during the summer to keep your car running and comfortable.
Vehicle maintenance is an essential part of car ownership no matter what time of year it is but there are a few alterations to the checks or what you’re looking for depending on the weather. In this section we’ll look at the checks you need to make in Summer and what you’re looking for.
Check Your Battery
You should check your battery throughout the year, and although batteries work best in the heat issues can still arise in the summer.
You want to check that the battery is properly sealed, to avoid electrolyte evaporating. Not all batteries will have a fluid level that you can top up but you should still check there is no leakage at all.
Another check you want to make is to make sure there’s no corrosion to the battery or the connection points. This can be a sign of leaking battery acid which is an indicator that the battery needs to be replaced.
Check Your Tyres
It’s important to check your tyres regularly but in the summer months it can be especially important as the hot weather increases the air pressure in your tyres. Higher air pressure causes more strain on points of weakness and makes a puncture more likely.
You want to check your tyres when there are as cool as possible to avoid the heat giving inaccurate readings. As tyres move they heat up so you want to try and travel as little distance as possible or allow the vehicle to sit for a while before checking. You should fill the tyres to the recommended levels as advised by the manufacturer.
When checking your tyres you not only want to check the tyre pressure but also do a visual inspection of them to look for any cuts or bulges. If you do find any major cuts or bulges then you should take your vehicle to a garage to see if they can be repaired or replaced. Cuts and bulges are signs of damage to the tyre and these will be weak points making a blown tyre more likely.
You also want to check that your tyre tread is deep enough. In the UK the legal minimum is 1.6mm around the central three-quarters of the entire circumference of the wheel.
Check Your Fluids
You want to check all of the fluids under the hood to make sure that they are all showing within the minimum and maximum levels.
When checking your fluids you should make sure that the engine is cold, we recommend leaving at least eight hours between when you last used the vehicle and complete these checks.
You’ll also want to make sure the vehicle is on a level surface and not tilted at an angle as this will skew the readings.
We recommend checking them regularly throughout the year especially the screen wash and coolant as these are both topped up as they may be working a little harder during the summer. With the coolant, you might also want to check the hose to make sure this isn’t damaged. You can give it a squeeze to make sure it still feels firm, if it’s squishy or soft then you may need a replacement.
Check Your Air-Con
You’re more likely to use the air-conditioning system in the summer so you will want to check this is working correctly now it’s starting to heat up.
Most manufacturers recommend that the air-con is regassed roughly every two years to ensure it works efficiently, though this may vary depending on your vehicle model so we recommend checking with your manufacturer.
Summer Car Cleaning
We recommend cleaning your car regularly for a number of reasons: keeping your paintwork in top condition, maintaining good visibility, protecting your car from damage, and preventing bad smells.
Cleaning the exterior of your car will prevent damage to the paintwork from bird poo and tree sap and any other dirt you might pick up on the road.
We recommend removing bird poo and tree sap as soon as you are able to after noticing it in the summer as the heat of the sun can cause the paintwork to expand while the sap / lime does not and so causes crinkles in the paintwork as well as discolouration.
After cleaning your car fully you might also want to use a wax or polish as well for an extra layer of protection going forward. Wax will also help reduce the chance of paint blemishes and discolouration due to sustained direct sunlight.
One area in particular you should regularly clean is the windscreen and wipers. You can use the screen wash to clean on the road but every couple of weeks we recommend giving the rest of the screen where the wipers can’t reach a clean. Additionally, you should clean the wipers of any dirt or debris caught in them to ensure they clean your windscreen as best as possible on the road.
It’s not just the exterior that you should keep clean though – hot weather can have an impact on the interior especially if you leave things in there.
The first thing we recommend doing is cleaning out any rubbish and keeping a plastic bag, or small car bin, in the vehicle so you can keep the rubbish in one place and easily remove this when you need to. You should also be aware that extreme heat can have an impact on other items you keep in your car, including some soft plastics like those used for some dashboard phone rests.
Food in the Car
If you have food or drink in the car then you should keep it in a cooler place out of direct sunlight, like the boot or under the seats. However, we do not recommend keeping food in the vehicle for long as it might melt and damage the vehicle, or at least make a difficult mess to clean up. Additionally, because of the heat it can cause a smell that attracts insects and small mammals to the vehicle.
We do recommend keeping a bottle of water in the car at all times not only so that you can hydrate if needed but it can also be useful if you need to clean a small injury or dirt build up that obscures your vision.
You might also want to invest in some sun shades to help keep your car as cool as possible.
You can get one large shade to go over the windscreen when the car is stationary to reduce the temperature when you return to the vehicle. Or if you have little ones in the back you can also get rear window shades that protect them from the bright sun while travelling.
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