While a summer road trip can be enjoyable, being in the car on a really hot day isn’t great and your car doesn’t like it much either!
As much as we look forward to helping your car through its final days, to save the heat being its final straw (and to make sure you are safe and comfortable of course) here’s CarTakeBack’s Top Ten Tips for summer car use…
A hot car means a hot driver (and we’re not complimenting you on your sunglasses). To stay safe you need to keep cool and avoid dehydration and drowsiness.
Usually we’d remind you that using your air conditioning eats fuel, but this is the time of year you should definitely be switching it on! (Don’t forget to keep the sunroof closed.) If you don’t have air conditioning, open all the windows and get the air flowing through your car.
Take a bottle of water with you even on short trips. The CarTakeBack team recommend an ice pack and some extra supplies for long journeys. Obviously you should always have an emergency kit and a charged mobile phone with you. Our summer additions include a bottle of sunscreen and a sunhat or even a parasol for a possible breakdown without shade.
For the intense sunlight we get here in Oz, it’s a great idea to invest in a sunshade for your windscreen. These reflect the sunlight when you are parked and save your air conditioning from having to work as hard to cool the car when you set off. (It also saves your bum from sticking to your seat or your hands being burnt on your steering wheel!)
We’d hope this one goes without saying, but never leave children or pets in a parked car, even for a minute. Temperatures can become dangerously high very quickly. Enough said.
We kicked these tips off advising you to use your air conditioning to keep cool and alert… but when was the last time you had it checked?! Make sure it actually blows cold air to a noticeable strength… If it’s not emitting cold air, or it seems weak, the refrigerant might be low. It may just need topping up or it may be time for an A/C service.
A common breakdown problem in summer is an overheated engine, particularly from long distance driving or slow moving queues. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge and don’t ignore it! Driving while your engine is overheated can cause long term damage. If the gauge hits ‘red’ or a warning light comes on, pull over as soon as you can safely do so and be patient waiting for it to cool – a sudden change in temperature can cause even more costly damage!
It’s unlikely your engine coolant will need replenishing between services, but it’s worth checking – you will be able to see the min and max marks on the tank under the bonnet. If it’s low, the usual advice is to add a 50/50 mix of coolant and water, but obviously read the instructions and never use straight water in the radiator as it risks corrosion.
WARNING: If your radiator is hot never open the cap to check the coolant level as you could be injured! Wait until the engine has cooled first. (Checking before you head out easily avoids this safety hazard!)
Keeping your oil at the right level and replacing it when necessary will ensure optimum lubrication and help keep your engine cool! If you are being really thorough, a heavier viscosity oil can help in hot weather and synthetic motor oils are even more effective.
During the dry weather it’s easy to end up with a smeary windscreen that forces you to peer through streaks! A clean windscreen and plenty of washer fluid is essential for clear vision and your safety during hot temperature. Sun exposure can also dry out the rubber on your wipers, so make sure to check old wipers and replace when they become brittle.
Hot, tired tyres are not safe! Neither under or over inflated tyres are good for your car, but an under-inflated tyre increases the build up of heat and risks a blow-out, so it’s even more of a risk in summer. Check tyres when they are cool to make sure they are inflated to the right level and don’t forget to look out for wear and damage.
Most importantly, in extreme heat, avoid driving at all!
If this season ends up being too much for your old wheels, or you decide it’s finally time to buy that convertible, then don’t forget CarTakeBack can give you an instant quote for your car, pick it up for free and help with the paperwork.