The summer is here and, for a change, we seem to be having some sunshine and nice weather. You may be wanting to make the most of the good weather by getting out in your car for some fun in the sun. So you’ll need to make sure your car is ready for the hot weather. Here’s our guide to getting your car ready for the summer.
The most important things to check for the summer are your oil and water levels. The higher temperatures means your car will need its cooling system more than ever. Before going out on any long journey, check your oil and water levels. The last thing you need on a scorching summer day is for your car’s engine to overheat. Waiting at the side of the road for breakdown recovery or the engine to cool down is not how you want to spend your summer.
Top tip: Take a large bottle of water with you in the car. An empty 2 litre fizzy drink bottle will do. Not only can you use it to top up the water levels in your car, but if you need to go find more water, you won’t have to pay for a new bottle. Plus, you can easily keep it sealed in the car so there won’t be any spillage.
When the sun is out, the glare can be a problem when driving. It can also cause your view to be obstructed, especially if your windscreen isn’t particularly clean. Dirt and grime smeared across your windows can reduce visibility as the sun filters through it. It is also pretty unsightly. Give your windows a good clean before setting out to ensure that your visibility isn’t affected.
Top tip: Do not use washing up liquid to clean your windows. You might think its a quick and easy way to give your car a clean, but washing up liquid leaves streaky marks across your windows. Washing up liquid is also a danger to your car bodywork, removing any wax covering and speeding up the rust process with its high salt content.
Not all cars have amazing climate control letting you set the exact temperature you want. Many older models still rely on fan based air conditioning. So you will want to make sure it is all working before you take your car out on a hot, sweltering, summer’s day. Give your air-con a test in advance to make sure it is working properly.
Parking is normally at a premium during the summer, especially with everyone heading out to make the most of any sunshine that comes our way. If you can’t park your car in the shade and don’t own a sun shade, then you might want to bring some blankets to cover the seats. This will keep the seats cool, with the blankets easy to fold away into the back.
Top tip: When you return to your car after leaving it in the sun, be careful with the temperature of the seat belt fasteners. The small bits of metal can become dangerously hot, especially for young ones. Be careful when you put the clip in. If you have to cool them off with water, then it’s worth the wait.
It’s not just your engine that’s affected by the high summer temperatures. Your car’s tyres will also feel the heat. The friction from the road already heats the tyres a great deal. The increased air temperature will affect them even further. This will mean you will lose grip on the road and braking will not be as effective. To ensure that your car is safe to drive, check the tyre pressure on your car. If they are at the right pressure, then they should not become unsafe when the temperature rises.
One thing that always comes with the British summer are traffic jams. The rarity of sunshine and lovely weather means that when it does come, Britons head out in their droves to try and make the most of it. This means there is often more congestion on the roads. And with every motorway seeming to have some sort of roadworks taking place, the chances of you ending up in congestion are very high. “I Spy” can only go so far. Make sure your radio is working and you have brought your MP3 player with you. The music and DJs on the radio can get repetitive, so you might soon be craving for some of your favourite tunes that are more to your taste.
Looking for some driving inspiration? Then check out our Spotify playlist of great summer road trip songs.
We would love to hear what tips and tricks you use when driving in the summer. Let us know on our facebook page and we'll round up the best tips later this week.