If you’re heading on your travels this summer, the safety and wellbeing of you and your passengers is essential. We all hear about changes you should make to your vehicle in winter, but what about summer? We’re bang in the middle of the hottest time of the year, and your car will suffer from that excess heat. So, before the bags are packed and the kids are strapped into the back seats, you need to make sure your car is ready. Here are some handy tips that will come in useful over the next month-or-two.
- The AC System
It’s a no-brainer that you’re going to need a working AC system for the summer. Hopefully, you’ll have already taken the time to make sure it’s in working condition. If it isn’t, you need to get it fixed as quickly as possible. Normally, AC unit faults are due to a low level of refrigerant, which is often related to a leak in the system somewhere. You don’t want to be recharging that AC system until a mechanic has inspected the leak. Get it done sooner rather than later.
- Cooling System
Your cooling system is one of the most important parts of your vehicle, and it’s going to suffer the strain in the summer. What can you do? First and foremost, you need to keep a regular check on the coolant levels under the bonnet. Also, you’ll want to look around for any leaks that you might find. When you’re driving, keep one eye on the temperature gauge. If it’s reaching dangerous levels, you’ve got a problem somewhere. Pull over and wait at least 30 minutes before checking anything. If you can’t figure out the issue, you’ll need roadside support.
- Your Tyres
Far too often, I hear of people who invest in winter tyres but don’t invest in summer tyres! They exist, and they’re there to make your summer road trip that much safer. AA tyres state that they “are specially designed to offer more grip in the high temperatures”. If you refuse to switch, you’ll need to be keeping a very close eye on your existing tyres. Most importantly, underinflated tyres are at a big risk of blowouts.
We’re going to focus on numerous ways to keep your car’s interior cool, but this is the easiest solution. You’ll find that during the summer, the interior elements of the vehicle are hot to the touch. Not only is this uncomfortable from your point of view, but the paintwork will slowly begin to fade and crack. Picking up a basic sunshade to cover the interior of the car when you’re not using it is an essential purchase.
- Red-Hot Steering Wheel
And, while we’re on the topic of keeping the interior cool, let’s focus specifically on the steering wheel. There’s nothing worse than getting into your car and finding that the wheel is simply too hot to touch. Here’s a really basic trick for getting around this problem. Once you finish driving, turn your wheel 180 degrees to the side. The side that you touch will be in the shade until you next get in the car, reducing the heat buildup. You can also buy heat-resistant steering wheel car covers if you want to provide maximum protection.
- Hoses & Belts
We’ve already talked about how important it is to keep your car cool in the summer. Failing to do this will result in the engine overheating, causing massive problems for the vehicle. The various hoses and belts in your car are a key concern you’ll need to be aware of. If a belt suddenly snaps while you’re on the road, overheating will quickly result. If you notice any cracks or broken pieces in the belt, for example, it’s a warning sign that you need to take care of it.
- Your Battery
Broken batteries are more commonly associated with the winter months, but don’t underestimate the power of heat! In the summer, batteries can be affected by the temperatures. Heat can speed up the chemical reaction leading to overcharging. Now and again, you want to ensure you regularly clean the terminals. Disconnect the wires, and use a basic solution of baking soda and water to clean terminals effectively. By doing this, you’ll reduce the possibility of the battery wearing out too quickly.
- Cleaning Your Car
What better time is there to clean your car than the summer? It isn’t just about looks, though. The best thing you can do when cleaning your car is to use a UV polish on the paintwork. This protects it from the sun's rays, reducing paintwork wear and tear. Of course, you want your car to look great in the summer, too! You’ll find that a lot of the grime that builds up over the winter months becomes much more prominent when the sun is out.
- Solar Car Vents
Let’s get back to the idea of interior cooling for a minute. Here’s a really great idea that won’t break the bank. If you search online, you’ll find a number of products called ‘solar car vents’. Basically, they sit inside the windshield and absorb the heat that your car collects during the day. They then convert that heat into cool air, pushing it around the inside of the car. They’re really cheap, and they’re a fantastic way to ensure your car never gets too hot to handle.
- You & Your Passengers
Alright, so this isn’t limited to your vehicle, but it’s still important for those who will be taking a ride in it. Depending on the vehicle you drive, your windshield may or may not be fully protected from UV rays. Have you ever considered wearing sun cream in the car? Well, now’s the time to start thinking about it. Also, be sure to follow basic tips like hydrating regularly and wearing sunglasses as necessary.
Once you’ve followed all these tips, you’ll be just about ready to head off on your summer holidays. Hopefully, by taking the time to prepare thoroughly, you’ll avoid any travel nightmares. We hope you have a fantastic time!