Maintaining your car over summer is just as important as maintaining it over winter. Excessively hot temperatures puts extra strain on your engine, so controlling the overall temperature of your engine is vital to prevent unexpected part replacements and breakdowns.
It’s not just the engine that needs attention, but your tyres, wipers and air conditioning system are all vital components that you’ll want in excellent working order, especially if you plan on taking long summer drives to your favourite beaches, or a road trip over the holiday period.
Check out our car care tips to help you be prepared and beat the heat this summer.
Keep your cool
One of the most common car problems in the hot summer months are due to the car’s cooling system failing.
The cooling system has to work much harder in hot weather, to keep the engine from overheating.
The coolant liquid itself should be changed when necessary as part of your regular car service. But the most common thing to check is whether there is a leak. A leak will prevent your coolant from being at the right level required to do its job. You might spot a puddle under your car, which might be the coolant leaking (but it could also be a leak from somewhere else).
Keep the levels between the lines, but don’t check this whilst the car is hot, check before you drive or wait until the car cools down.
The hoses and belts are important components that help do the job of keeping everything cool.
The hoses connect to the radiator to pump coolant. If the hoses have cracks or are too soft they will need replacing to prevent the radiator overheating.
The belts run the fan that also cools the system. The belts shouldn’t be frayed and worn as they could snap and stop the fan from working, resulting in overheating and eventual break down of the car.
Take the pressure down
Tyres take a lot of wear and tear, and in hotter conditions, the air pressure in your tyres needs to be at the car’s recommended level.
To check the air pressure, make sure it’s when the tyres are cold as heat will cause the pressure to rise. Too little air pressure can cause blow outs.
As always, your spare tyre should be in excellent condition, otherwise what is the point of having the spare!
Keep your batteries running
Excessive heat can cause the fluid to evaporate and damage car batteries. A general check of your battery is ideal before a long summer road trip.
However, there are things you can do yourself to ensure the life of your battery. Make sure the top of the battery is clean of any build up and that all of the connections are secure.
Stay clean and clear
Some housekeeping of your engine parts is a great way to keep your car trouble free and capable of beating the summer heat.
Check the radiator to make sure it’s clear of bugs, dirt and build up. The radiator is responsible for preventing the car engine from overheating by pumping the coolant.
Also check the air filter is not blocked. When the engine is deprived of air, it puts more strain on the engine. The air filter also prevents particles from entering the air conditioning system.
Check your oils
By having a properly lubricated engine, you can prevent potential problems caused by the hot climate. Check your oil level when the car is on level ground and is warm, by waiting 5 minutes after you’ve stopped your engine. Remove the dipstick, wipe it, put the dipstick back in and wait a second, then pull it out again to see where the oil is against the markers.
Keep your oil between the markers, but if there is debris in the oil, you might need an oil change which a mechanic can do for you.
Don’t sweat it
Driving long hours in the Australian summer and keeping comfortable means you need an air conditioning system. Simply opening the windows just won’t cut it, plus you’ll let the flies in! Maintaining the air filter helps prevent any debris from entering the air conditioning system.
The main problem when air conditioning breaks down is due to a leak. You’ll most likely need a professional to sort out any issues with your car’s air conditioning, but it will be well worth it, unless you want sauna like conditions inside your car on those very hot days!
Keep your vision clear
The Australian summer can turn from extreme heat to torrential downpour in minutes. Don’t get caught out by making sure your windscreen wipers work as they should and ensure your safety.
Believe it or not, the wiper blades can even melt in extreme heat, so try and keep your car in the shade when parked and put on the washers every now and again to keep the temperature down.
Don’t fade away
Excessive sunlight and UV radiation can damage the paintwork and interior of a car.
Regularly washing, polishing and waxing your car can help prevent fading and oxidation of your paintwork.
Inside the car, using a protective sealant on the dash and steering wheel works well, and sun shades to cover the dash when parked will block out the sun entirely.
Tinted windows can minimise overall damage and help keep temperatures down, and in addition, sun shades on the interior windows can also help fading of upholstery.
Parking your car in the shade will obviously also prevent the damage, but if this is not possible, you could invest in a car cover.
Sea salt scrub
Presuming you’re not taking your car on the sand, driving or parking next to the beach for the short term shouldn’t cause too many issues.
Just make sure you wash, polish and wax your car after a seaside trip to clean the car of any sea salt to prevent damage to the paint.
Anyway, hope you have a great Australian summer road trip!