These long summer days are perfect for taking your car out for a spin. Follow our top summer car care tips to avoid any roadside difficulties.
1. Oil and water
Period and classic cars can consume a lot of oil and are more likely to overheat. Before you pop the bonnet to check your oil and water, make sure your vehicle is parked on a flat surface and that the engine is not running and cool. If your oil is low use the right oil for your car, classic oils like Millers Oil and Castrol Classic remain the right consistency at hotter temperatures and features less detergent than modern oils.
2. Check the battery
Battery failure is the most frequent reason that cars breakdown. Did you know that excessive temperatures can shorten the life of your car battery? If it’s not sealed correctly, the electrolyte can evaporate more quickly.
Inspect the fluid level in your battery and top-up with distilled water if it is low. Sealed batteries don’t have filler caps so won’t need topping up, on these check the battery for leakage of battery acid and corrosion.
3. Belts, belts, belts
There’s at least one drive belt in your car’s engine bay that drives the alternator and water pump. Take a look and check it visually for excessive wear.
Check if the cooling fan is working correctly; if you let your engine run for five minutes when warm, you should be able to hear the fan kick in.
4. Cooling system
Check your hose, seals and radiator for leaks then check visually for any perishing rubber pipes. Don’t forget to top up the coolant and check your fan belt.
Make sure your brake pads have plenty of life left in them and that your fluid levels are correct. If your brake pedals feel spongey when you push down on them, you may need to bleed your braking system to remove any air and replace the fluid.
Top up the windscreen washer bottle with appropriate fluid and check your car’s windscreen wipers to ensure they’ll clear your screens without leaving a smudgy residue. We recommend changing your wipers about once a year.
7. Tyre pressure
Check your tyre pressure while the tyres are cold. The hot weather increases the air pressure in tyres, and it’s this higher pressure that puts more stress on any worn or damaged areas, increasing the risk of puncture or blowouts. Make sure your tread is within legal limits and don’t forget to tighten the wheel nuts.
8. Clean and wax
As the sun sets dirt on your windscreen can look more prominent, wipe away any bugs and dust from your windscreen to improve visibility. To protect from blemishes caused by bird droppings, tree sap and insects, give your car a wash with some good quality shampoo conditioner, wipe down the windows, clean out the wheels, and finish up with a touch of wax for that extra shine.
Take a bottle of water, something for shade/warmth, snacks, torches and phone charger with you in the car just in case. This way, if you get stuck by the side of the road on a hot day at least, you’ll be able to keep cool.
10. Air conditioning
Finally, if you are lucky enough to have air conditioning, manufacturers recommend that air-con systems are regassed every two years. It’s crucial to use your air-con throughout the year because without regular use the gas can leak. While it might not seem too vital on open country roads, you’ll feel the heat when you’re sat in an unexpected traffic jam.
Enjoy your journey and happy driving!