Ensuring your car is ready for summer
Summer is on its way and ensuring your car is ready for summer holidays and road trips are essential for a safe journey. You may be planning a camping holiday or a getaway by the sea. Before embarking on a long journey it’s important to make sure your car is ready for the route and the sunny weather. While poor weather can affect driving conditions in obvious ways. The heat and the sun can also have a bearing on your vehicle and driving ability. Here’s a list of all of the things you should do to get your car ready for summer.
Note: A lot of these tips are concerning the checking the fluids of varying car parts. This is important in summer as the hot weather can cause these liquids to evaporate at high temperatures.
If you would like to find out more advanced car maintenance tips, we have put together an article for you. Read Advanced car maintenance tips.
Tyres are the most important component on your car. They have a huge impact on the performance and safety of your vehicle. If ignored and not properly maintained a tyre can be the cause of serious injury or fatalities on the road. If you choose a specific set of winter and summer tyres for your car then now is the time to make the switch, if you haven’t already. The main differences between summer and winter tyres are the grooves in the tread area which are designed to grip the road depending on the conditions. Winter tyres are better for snow and ice. And summer tyres are better for hot tarmac.
Also, the rubber used is a different grade on winter and summer tyres ensuring the tyre grips the road better depending on the temperatures.
Even if you use all-season tyres check for bubbles, uneven wear and the tread. And ensure they are properly inflated before setting off on your summer road trip!
Learn more about tyre materials from leading tyre brand Goodyear.
Brakes and braking
Summer traffic is often faster moving than winter traffic. Not only that, your brakes are forced to work a lot harder in the icy and cold conditions of winter. The extreme heat of use mixed with the ice cold weather conditions equals suffering for your brake pads. So after a great deal of abuse in winter, it’s worthwhile checking your brakes when the summer months roll around.
If you’re more technically inclined, remove your brake pads and check them for significant wear and cracking. Make sure that the brake pad edges aren’t crumbling or heavily discoloured and that your brake rotors or drums have no significant cracking.
Notice anything suspicious? Ask a mechanic to check for you.
A deep and thorough clean
Winter weather really does take its toll on your car. A continual barrage of ice, water, salt and sand hammer at your vehicle from all angles throughout winter months. Get a full valet clean before the summer or do it yourself with some good quality cleaners.
A deep clean includes pressure washing the bodywork and under the body to remove all of the salt and road muck. Then, vacuum and wash the muddy carpets and seats from wet wintery walks. Clean the smudges from the inside of the windows where your hand acted as a squeegee to help you see. And clear out the boot to make room for your suitcases and you’re ready for your trip!
A clean car makes it much easier to spot any potential ageing parts or leaks when they arise, saving you money in the long run.
Keep your coolant cool
Check your coolant levels as we approach summer months. Coolant exists to prevent your car radiator from overheating. The overflow tank should be full.
Pop into your local auto parts store for a quick check. They’ll be able to tell you if the water is the correct ratio of water to ethylene glycol. They may see it needs to be adjusted for maximum cooling effect.
For improved performance, your coolant should be changed once a year.
Put the power back into your power steering
This isn’t always included in general servicing packages but it is important to keep an eye on your power steering fluid. If the fluid gets too low it can lead to premature failure of your power steering pump or the entire steering system. This is a very expensive repair so keeping it maintained will ensure your summer holiday plans aren’t scuppered by an unexpected repair bill.
The fluid shouldn’t be brown and If it is, it’s definitely time for a fluid change at the garage.
If you want, or need, to know how to monitor your power-steering fluid (and other maintenance) please check your owner’s manual for details.
Put on the brakes
Brake fluid is extremely important for your safety and is up there with the importance of tyres. Brakes are hydraulic and the fluid is needed to power the brake system. It’s located in a translucent container near the base of the windscreen. When checking the liquid should be clear and close to the full marker. If the fluid is dark it will need to be flushed by a mechanic and replaced.
Without brake fluid, your brakes could deteriorate and you could experience reduced performance and even complete brake failure. You may reach your summer holiday destination, but you would drive straight past because you wouldn’t be able to stop the car!
Change the windscreen wipers
Your wiper blades are made from rubber and are best used in warm weather, not extreme heat or cold. Because rubber is designed to work best under certain temperatures you must maintain them through the transition between summer and winter.
After a harsh winter, your wiper blades will likely need replacing due to the ice and operating under low temperatures. This exposure to harsh weather means the surface of the wipers would have been repeatedly scraped thus reducing their effectiveness. Greater visibility equals less stress.
Check the water diluted acid bath under the lead plates of your car battery periodically. There should be no sign of discharge or any leaks around the top of the battery.
However, in older cars, you might have a sealed off battery which doesn’t require this check.
Fix those niggling little things
Summer is the perfect time to get any niggling little things fixed on your car. Without the chill and wet factor of winter, you can see any small scratches or interior scrapes much more clearly. And once you’ve seen that scratch on your passenger door, you can’t un-see it!
While the light is good, thanks to the longer days, remove the annoyance, and you can feel happy that your car is back to being/feeling pristine.