Our summers are getting warmer, with the UK reporting higher than average temperatures. So what does this mean for our cars?
High temperatures over a long period can affect certain aspects of a vehicle. Therefore, it’s worth giving your car some summer care to avoid breakdowns and ensure optimal performance.
Re-gas your air con to stay cool
As a driver, the air conditioning unit is the most essential component for comfortable motoring in hot weather.
Most car manuals recommend you re-gas your air-con system every two years. If the air coming through your vents isn’t as cool as you’d like it to be, then book your car into your local garage for a re-gas.
Air con systems generally lose around 10 to 20% of refrigerant every one to two years. It’s a simple process to re-gas – a mechanic can remove the old refrigerant gas from the air conditioning unit and replace it with a new refrigerant.
After this, the air coming through the vents should be cold again when you set the air con to cool.
Batteries can fail in hot weather
If your car battery is exposed to excessive temperatures, it can reduce its lifespan. If the battery isn’t sealed correctly, the electrolyte inside evaporates more quickly. Often this is the cause of breakdowns in hot weather.
In some cars, you can check the fluid level of your car’s battery and top it up with distilled water if required, though sealed batteries don’t have filler caps and don’t need topping up.
If you’re concerned, take your car in for a quick test to check your battery for any corrosion or leakage of battery acid.
Temperature affects tyre pressure
It’s as essential to check your tyre pressure in hot weather as it is in cold weather. Air pressure in your tyres can rise along with the temperature. Weak areas are put under stress, and the risk of a puncture increases.
But be careful not to over-inflate your tyres, as this can cause them to wear more quickly, risking a blowout.
Is your coolant at the right level?
If you’re planning a long drive in hot conditions, it’s worth checking your coolant levels so things don’t overheat.
Fluids can evaporate faster in hot weather. A quick visit to your local garage can ascertain whether the level is correct, and your coolant can easily be topped up if needed.
Wiper rubber can deteriorate in heat
It’s just as important to have functioning wipers in hot weather as it is in wintery conditions.
The condition of the rubber on your wiper blades will deteriorate faster in high temperatures. And wipers in bad condition can result in your car failing an MOT test.
When you’re driving in heat, windscreens can become smeared and covered in dust and dead insects. This can be hazardous, especially when sunlight hits the screen as the dirt diffuses the light.
Make sure your windscreen wash bottle is filled up, particularly if you’re planning a long journey, and add screen wash to plain water, as this will clean windscreens more effectively.
Would you like car advice from a friendly local garage?
Foster & Heanes offers car servicing, maintenance and repair for all makes and models of vehicles, including classic and vintage cars. Free collection and delivery can be arranged if you live near our Fleet or Dogmersfield service centres.