Summer is once again upon us. Now is the time to enjoy the warm weather outdoors and have fun. Sadly, the same can't be said for your car.
It's a bit of a stretch to say that cars hate summer, but this is the season when many cars break down due to overheating, dead batteries, or busted tyres, just to name a few.
Don't let car problems spoil the summer fun for you (but don't let the summer ruin your car either)! Just follow these simple tips for summer car care and you'll be sure to enjoy the next three months of our Australian summer.
1. Always check the fluids
The car engine is the first to be affected by the rise in temperature. So, it's just fitting to look under the hood before anything else. Make sure to check that the engine fluids are at the right level to avoid overheating, particularly the radiator fluid, engine oil, and transmission fluid. Also, check other fluids like the power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid to make sure that everything is working properly.
2. Regularly monitor the tyres' air pressure
As the temperature rises, your tyres' air pressure increases proportionally as well. If you travel continuously on a summer day without monitoring the air pressure, you may find yourself with a flat tyre or worse, a blown-up tyre. This has a higher chance of happening if the tyres are having dry-rot (a sidewall cracking due to evaporation of oil in the rubber) or significant wear and damage (excessive heat can wear your tyres faster).
Consult your car manual for the recommended pressure and make sure that the tyres are always on that level.
3. Always try to park in the shade
Direct sunlight doesn't do your vehicle any good. It dries up your car fluids and causes the body paint to crack or fade faster. Not to mention the amount of work that your AC has to do to normalise the temperature inside the car.
To avoid all of these, ensure that your vehicle is always parked in the garage or somewhere shaded. This is one of the top tips for summer car care that you shouldn't ignore. It's also a good idea to invest in a sunshade to help protect your car whenever you can't find a sheltered parking space.
4. Do fuel economy drills
Decreased fuel economy is another car problem during an Australian summer. As mentioned earlier, high temperature causes fuel to evaporate. This can have a significant effect on your fuel budget, but the more concerning matter is the possibility of getting dry on the road. A cost-effective solution is to buy summer blend petrol with lower volatility, which makes it harder to evaporate.
However, doing fuel economy maintenance drills will also help greatly to increase your car's fuel economy. Doing tasks like oil and oil filter changes, cleaning of air filters, fuel filter replacement, and radiator flush can be beneficial in the long run.
5. Perform battery maintenance
The car battery is another car component that easily wears out in hot weather because heat can cause a build-up of corrosion on the battery terminals. These can all result to connection issues, which you wouldn't want on your way to the beach or a barbecue.
So, make sure to do maintenance checks prior to every big trip you plan to make this summer. Check that the battery is properly installed to avoid vibrations. Ensure that there's enough battery fluid. Detach the cables and clean the terminals regularly. Inspect the battery for any damage or corrosion and, if needed, get a replacement.
6. Take care of the air-conditioning
It's summer and the last thing you want is your car's AC conking out. A faulty air-conditioner will not only affect your comfort, it's also a sign that something is wrong with your car. Check that it's working well and giving adequate air flow.
Always monitor the coolant (also called Freon or refrigerant) level in the AC system so you're confident that it'll work. If you notice that the coolant level decreases faster than it should be, check for any leakages. It's best to have the AC fixed first before planning for a road trip than leaving it to chance that it would work.
7. Pay attention to the belts and hoses
Your car's belts and hoses can also be affected by high temperature during the summer. They tend to wear out and crack when the weather is hot so pay attention to them. Before going on any long trips or when the engine is cool, take time to check on the belts and hoses and feel if there are significant damages. Don't hesitate to get repair or replacement services when needed.
These tips for summer car care will not only give you a great time on the road but will also help give your vehicle a longer life.
Need a hand?
If checking fuel filters, and flushing radiators is a little out of your comfort zone, our friendly service team are here to help. Please click here to book in your Summer Car Care Make-Over with Tweed Coast Mazda.