June 15, 2023
As we head into the warmer months, we’ve put together a useful article with all our top tips on summer driving and car care.
Summer Car Care Tips
1. Keep It Clean
It’s important to keep your car clean and tidy all year round but it can be especially important during the summer months when the sun and heat can affect your car.
We recommend not keeping any food that could spoil or melt as this can cause damage to the interior, a bad smell and can attract animals into the vehicle. If you are going to keep snacks in the car you want to opt for things like cereal bars or nuts that will not melt in the heat.
During the summer months, it can be easier for bird droppings and sap to damage your car. This is due to three factors; firstly, there’s more sap being produced by trees and depending on your location more birds in the area. Secondly, paint, sap and bird lime react differently to the summer heat and this can lead to paint wrinkling, warping and discolouration. And thirdly, there’s less rain that’s likely to clean it from your car with little action needed from you. We recommend making sure that your regularly clean your car, and wipe any tree sap or bird poo from the vehicle as soon as you spot it.
Another area you want to be particularly conscious of in the summer is your windows. Bright sun can cause glare, especially if there is dirt on the glass, which can block your vision or temporarily blind you. You should make sure that you regularly clean your windows, especially the front and rear windscreens.
2. Check Your Fluids
There are three essential fluids you want to make sure are kept topped up during the summer months:
1. Screenwash – so that you can easily keep your windscreen clear on the go, and avoid being blinded by glare
2. Coolant – your engine needs coolant to ensure it doesn’t overheat, and with the weather in general warming up this is especially important
3. Oil – another fluid you should regularly be checking is the oil, with longer days it’s easier to check the oil in the daylight during summer months and it’s as simple as checking the dipstick and topping up as needed.
Another fluid you might want to check is well stocked is water for you to drink. We recommend keeping a bottle or two in the car to keep you hydrated, especially during the warmer months when you’re more likely to experience dehydration.
3. Check Your Tyres
Checking your tyres is a part of car care that is essential all year round, but it can be especially important during the summer months as when the tyres are hot their air pressure will increase, which will put additional strain. Additional strain can cause tyres that are in poor condition to burst.
You will want to check for any cuts or bulges to the tyres and that the tread is above the minimum legal limit (1.6mm). You also want to check the tyre pressure to make sure that it isn’t too high or too low. We recommend checking the pressure after minimal driving, as this will heat the tyres up more and may give inaccurate readings.
4. Check Your Air-Con
With so many windows it’s easy for cars to become hot and stuffy, which is why so many of us like to use the air-con to keep ourselves cool on the move.
Most manufacturers will recommend that you get the air-conditioning system regassed every two years or so, to keep it running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. If your car is older than two years we recommend taking a look at the manufacturer’s guidelines to see how often they recommend the air-con is serviced and arranging for this to be done if needed.
5. Invest in Sunshades
If you are regularly parking in an area without shade then you might consider investing in a sun shade for the car to prevent the interior from getting too hot. This can be a shade that completely covers the front / rear windscreen that you use when the vehicle is parked or a shade for the rear windscreens that remains in place to reduce light for rear passengers.
Summer Driving Tips
There are also a few steps you can take to make summer driving safer and more enjoyable for you. We’ve rounded up our top five tips that we hope you’ll find useful below.
1. Use Your Visors
The weather can be a hazard at any time of the year, not just winter, and in the summer months you should be aware of the sun (LINK TO SUN GLARE BLOG) and how it might affect your driving.
We recommend that you keep a pair of sunglasses in the car where possible, and even if you’re using them make use of the sun visor to help reduce the direct sunlight into your eyes. Some cars will also allow you to move the visor to the side for better visibility all around.
2. Allow Yourself Time
During the school holidays, many parents will take a break from work which can lead to more traffic in tourist areas and along high traffic routes.
Additionally, as we reach the end of the summer and students return to school there will be an increase in the number of vehicles as bus services and cars return to the school routes and as some drivers may have become used to the lower level of traffic this can have an impact on their journeys.
To avoid being inconvenienced by either of these circumstances we recommend allowing yourself a little more travel time if you know you’re travelling in a popular tourist area or there’s a summer event.
We also recommend being aware of the school term times if you regularly drive past a school so that you can be prepared for the change in traffic when the school opens / closes.
3. Allow the Car to Cool
If your car’s been sitting in the sun, then it will likely be very hot and stuffy. If you have the time then we recommend letting it cool down before driving. This is not only to make it a more comfortable experience for you but also a safer one, a hot steering wheel or gear stick can not only injure you but could potentially cause an accident.
There are a few things you can do to cool your car down when it is too hot. You can open the doors and windows in order to get the air moving through your vehicle. Or if you don’t have the time or space to do this then you can crank up the air conditioning. You might want to direct the airflow to the touchpoints of the car and make sure that they are cool enough for you to use safely before driving – this includes the steering wheel, handbrake, gearstick, and infotainment controls.
You might also want to wipe down the touchpoints with a damp cloth to help cool them quicker. However, you’ll usually want to go over it the areas with a dry cloth in order to make sure they’re not too slippery or damn when driving.
4. Be Aware of Animals
The spring and summer months are when new animals are born, and many bugs come out of the woodwork. Whilst this might not seem like something that would affect your driving, animals can actually have an impact on your safety – there’s a significant number of accidents caused by animals on the
You should be aware of animals small and large, and the possible hazard they present to you and your vehicle.
Some ways that an increased animal population can affect you include:
- Animals nesting in / under your vehicle as it provides a source of shade
- Animals on the road
- Bugs getting into the car and distracting you whilst driving
5. Have a Summer Car Kit
We recommend making sure a few essentials are always in your car during the summer months. These are:
- Sunglasses – to help you see better in the brighter weather
- Sun cream – you can still get sunburnt through the windscreen, and it’s handy to have so you can top up your protection on the go
- A bottle of water – to ensure you stay hydrated
- Cleaning wipes – to remove any dirt from your vehicle easily
- A carrier bag – to make it easier to remove rubbish or items from your car
This is in addition to the safety items you should keep in your car all year round.
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