Get your car Summer ready

8 May 2024 | Vehicle Care

Many people know that driving in Winter can be dangerous, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you and your family are safe and ready to enjoy the sun this Summer.

If you’re planning a family staycation, day trips with the kids, or just want to enjoy getting out in the warmer weather, you need to make sure your car is in tip top condition.

Here are some tips to help you get prepared…

Air conditioning

Having a working air conditioning system is important when it’s hot outside, especially during long summer drives. However, keep in mind that using your air conditioning can use more fuel – about 25% more.

There are a few reasons why your air conditioning might stop working, like running out of coolant, the AC compressor wearing out, a broken thermostat, or something blocking the air vents. If you suspect any issues, get a mechanic to look at it.  

Tyre pressure

Checking your car tyre pressure before summer is crucial for ensuring your vehicle’s safety, performance, and fuel efficiency as temperatures rise. Here’s why it’s important and how to do it:

  1. Temperature changes: When it gets hotter in the shift from spring to summer, the air inside your tyres expands. If you don’t adjust the tyre pressure, they can become too full.
  2. Better driving: If your tyres are at the right pressure, your car performs better. It grips the road better, handles turns better, and stops more effectively. This is really important in summer when roads get busier and you might be driving long distances.
  3. Saving fuel: If your tyres are too full, your car uses more fuel because it has to work harder to move. If they’re not full enough, it’s the same problem. Checking and adjusting tyre pressure saves you money on fuel by keeping it just right.
  4. Longer lasting tyres: If your tyres aren’t inflated properly, they wear out unevenly. This means you’ll have to replace them sooner, which costs money. But if you keep the pressure right, they last longer and keep you safer.

To check your car tyre pressure before summer:

  1. Consult the manual: Refer to your vehicle’s manual or the placard located on the driver’s side door for the manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressure.
  2. Use a tyre pressure gauge: Use a reliable pressure gauge to measure the pressure in each tyre accurately.
  3. Check when tyres are cold: Tyre pressure should be checked when the tires are cold, preferably in the morning before driving. This ensures more accurate readings since driving can increase tire temperature and pressure.
  4. Adjust as needed: If the measured pressure is outside the recommended range, adjust it accordingly. If the pressure is too high, release some air by pressing the valve stem’s centre pin. If it’s too low, add air until you reach the correct pressure.
  5. Repeat regularly: It’s advisable to check your tyre pressure at least once a month, but it’s especially important before summer when temperature fluctuations can have a significant impact on tyre pressure.

Car fluids

Checking your car fluids before summer is important because hot weather can cause problems. Here’s why:

  1. Coolant/Antifreeze: Summer heat can make engines overheat. Coolant helps keep the engine cool and prevents it from rusting.
  2. Engine Oil: Hot temperatures can make engine oil thin, so it doesn’t work as well. Checking oil levels and quality keeps the engine running smoothly.
  3. Transmission Fluid: Heat can also affect transmission fluid, which helps the gears work properly. Checking it ensures smooth gear changes.
  4. Brake Fluid: Hot weather can make brake fluid less effective, which is dangerous. Checking it helps ensure your brakes work well.
  5. Power Steering Fluid: This fluid helps you steer easily. Making sure there’s enough, ensures your steering works smoothly.
  6. Windshield Washer Fluid: In summer, you might encounter bugs and dirt on your windshield. Having enough washer fluid helps keep your windshield clean for better visibility.

Regularly checking and maintaining these fluids not only ensures the longevity and performance of your vehicle but also enhances safety, especially during summer when driving conditions can be more challenging.

Battery check – some garages offer a check for free

Checking your car battery is a necessity before setting off this summer.

  1. Heat can be tough on batteries: When it’s hot outside, your car’s battery works harder. If it’s already weak, the heat can make it fail unexpectedly, leaving you stranded.
  2. Summer travel: Many people take road trips in the summer. You don’t want your battery to die in the middle of nowhere. Checking it beforehand gives you peace of mind.
  3. Avoid getting stuck: If your battery isn’t in good shape, your car might not start when you need it to. Checking it before summer ensures it’s ready for the extra strain of hot weather and long drives.
  4. Prevention is easier than a breakdown: It’s easier and cheaper to replace a weak battery before it fails completely. Checking it ahead of time lets you deal with any issues before they become bigger problems.

Tax and MOT

Before you hit the road for your summer trip, it’s important to make sure your car is legal to drive. Checking your car tax and MOT is key to avoid getting into trouble.

The following websites allow you check the status of your vehicle tax and MOT and find their due dates –

Tax – https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-tax

MOT – https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-status

Spring (or Summer clean)

Now that you’ve checked your car over, you’re nearly ready to set off for summer. When it gets warmer, things like dirt, pollen, and salt from winter roads can stick to your car and cause damage if you don’t clean it off. Regular cleaning keeps your car looking good and stops the paint and outside from getting damaged. Plus, it’s easier to see out of clean windows and mirrors, which makes driving safer and more enjoyable.

Taking care of your car before summer keeps it in good shape and ensures you have a nicer ride.