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Summer Car Maintenance Checklist

Date: Wed 20th June 2018   |   Author: L Blake

Car maintenance is a year round task for drivers everywhere.  In summer, the change in temperature can affect driving conditions and cause your car to behave differently. Whether you are planning a road trip or just want to know the basics of summer car maintenance, we’ve compiled a handy checklist of car care tips to keep you safe on the roads this summer.

Tip #1 – Check your tyres

Checking your tyres regularly is an essential tip for year-round car care. As temperatures rise, tyres that are underinflated or already damaged can become more aggravated. This increases the risk of your tyre getting a puncture or blowing out completely.

The last thing you want is to spend your summer days on the side of the road replacing a tyre that could have been changed earlier if checked in advance.

Making sure that your tyres have the optimum pressure and tread is essential for car maintenance and for summer driving. To find out what condition your tyres are in, you can use the 20p coin test.

Take a 20p coin and place it into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the coin is visible when it is inserted, then your tread is below the legal limit and will be classified as unsafe. If you cannot see the coin band, then you’re good to go!

Tip #2 – Keep your fluids topped up

Topping up your car’s fluids is another car care tip that is good to practice year-round, especially before a long trip. Although it is a car maintenance tip that many forget to take care of, it is probably one of the most important.

Whilst driving on the open roads during a summer heatwave sounds ideal, the reality may often be that you are faced with summer traffic. Car engines can get extremely hot during summer months and standstill traffic will only make the matter worse.

To prevent overheating and avoid any damage to your engine, you should keep your coolant levels topped up. It is also worth making sure that your other fluids are topped up too. A quick check of your brake fluid, gear oil, screen-wash and water may save you money in the long run.

Tip #3 – Keep your windscreen clear

Good visibility when driving is absolutely essential for your own safety and the safety of others. Warm weather often means dry weather and dry weather can wreak havoc on your windscreen.

To keep your windscreen clean and clear whilst on the go, you should keep your screen-wash topped up. You should use car screen-wash as opposed to washing-up liquid as the latter will leave a streaky finish which could make your visibility even worse.

You should aim to change your wiper blades every 6-12 months. If your wiper blades are no longer making contact with your windshield they can leave smears and streaks, reducing driving visibility. A common sign of this occurring is when your wipers begin to squeak. If you notice any wearing or splitting of the blades or notice a difference in your ability to see clearly when driving, it’s time to change them.

windscreen wipers

Tip #4 – Keep it cool

As the summer heat kicks in, the temperature within your car will rise too. Most drivers, at some point, will have experienced the discomfort of climbing into a boiling car. Not only is this uncomfortable to sit and drive in but it can also be dangerous.

There are a few ways to combat this. First of all, you should try to park in shaded areas whenever possible. To keep the interior of your car cool, you should try to keep your dashboard and steering wheel covered when not in use. Placing a sunshade over your windscreen and windows is also a good tip. Sunshades are inexpensive to buy but can make the world of difference.

Whilst a faulty AC system is not a priority during winter, it is something you will need to correct in time for summer. Check that your system is not leaking. If there is not enough refrigerant in your system then you may have a leak. You can find leak-sealing products in car supply stores and even in larger supermarkets. This is a temporary solution and you should have your AC system repaired or replaced if the problem persists.

Tip #5 – Check your battery

Your car battery can really take a hit during winter and summer as the weather and driving conditions change. This is because metal expands in the warm weather and retracts in the winter, which can damage the battery health over the years. It is important to check your battery regularly as part of your car maintenance routine.

You can prolong your battery life with these top tips: -

Keep your car battery clean – when dirt and engine grease builds up, it serves as a conductor which will drain your battery power. Giving your car battery a wipe down every now and then will prevent this from happening.
Turn off your electronics when not in use – this sounds obvious but if the engine isn’t running and your air-con/heating system, lights and stereo are all switched on, then your battery is going to take a hit. When you leave the car double-check that your all of your electronics are switched off.

Tip #6 – Keep it clean

Cleaning your car is a given when it comes to summer car maintenance. There’s nothing quite like jumping behind the wheel and setting off in a freshly cleaned, shiny motor. But the benefits are not just for aesthetic reasons. For example, a clean windscreen makes for clear visibility.

Cleaning your car is a regular car care chore. It’s not rocket science but we have a few tips that will leave your car looking as good as new:

Use a car shampoo – to clean the body of your car you should use car shampoo. Using washing-up liquid will leave a streaky finish.
Use a microfibre cloth – using a microfibre cloth as opposed to a car sponge will protect your paintwork and leave a nicer finish once your car has dried.

Start from the top – when cleaning your car you should work your way from the top to the bottom, wiping in small circular motions.
Use a glass cleaner – when moving onto your windows and mirrors, you should opt for a glass cleaner with no ammonia.
Use a stiff brush for tyres – whether you choose to clean your tyres first or last, you need to hose them down first. Then you should use a stiff brush to remove the dirt. For those hard to reach places, a toothbrush is ideal.
Use a drying towel – once your car is clean, rinse well and dry with a drying towel. Do not let the car air dry or you will get sun-spot finish.

We hope you found this summer car maintenance checklist helpful. For more driving tips and other interesting articles, visit the AutoProtect engage page.