5th June 2024

Keep cool on the road: Summer vehicle maintenance

As the Summer months are fast approaching, we urge you to consider that the warmer climes bring with them the most reported car issues. Even though more families than ever are choosing UK-based staycations, this still involves very long car journeys, all of which involve heavy use of your vehicle. Hre are our summer vehicle maintenance must-dos.

The significance of Summer driving

Summer is the season of road trips, beach outings, and weekend getaways. While hitting the open road in warm weather can be exhilarating, the summer heat can take a significant toll on your vehicle. Ensuring your car is in peak condition not only keeps you cool and comfortable but also prevents breakdowns and costly repairs.

We want you to feel confident and supported before embarking on your travels. Therefore, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to summer vehicle maintenance must-dos that will keep you cruising smoothly all season long.

1. Check your air conditioning system

We’ve discussed air con servicing previously and the importance of this procedure cannot be overlooked. One of the most crucial components for summer driving comfort is your car’s air conditioning system. Before the summer heat sets in, have your A/C system inspected by a professional. They will check for refrigerant levels and identify any potential leaks, ensuring that the compressor and other components function correctly. If your A/C isn’t blowing as cold as it used to, it might be low on refrigerant or have a clogged condenser. If you’re feeling unsure, please don’t worry as this is something we can help you with right away.

2. Maintain fluid levels

Fluids are your car’s lifeblood. Maintaining sufficient levels is essential for all journey types, especially in hotter weather.

We recommend all drivers regularly check and top off these critical fluids:

Coolant / antifreeze:

This prevents your engine from overheating. Ensure the coolant is at the appropriate level and consider having the system flushed if it hasn’t been done in a while.

Engine oil:

Hot weather can thin your engine oil, reducing its effectiveness. Regular oil changes with the right type of oil for summer conditions are crucial.

Brake fluid:

Heat can cause brake fluid to deteriorate and boil, so check the level and condition regularly.

Transmission fluid:

High temperatures can affect transmission performance. Make sure it’s clean and at the right level.

For advice and further help with any fluid checks, contact us today, or at your next earliest convenience.  

3. Inspect your tyres

Summer heat can cause many tyre-related issues, such as the rise in tyre pressure, which in turn increases the risk of a blowout. Check your tyre pressure regularly, ideally when the tyres are cool and in their more natural state. Also don’t forget to inspect for uneven wear and tear, which could indicate alignment or suspension issues. Finally, check your spare tyre as well. We tend to find most motorists fail to check their spare, which makes it futile to have one in the first place!

Tyre top tips:

Rotate tyres:

Regular rotation helps ensure even wear on all four of your vehicle’s tyres.

Check tread depth:

Adequate tread is essential for safe driving, especially on wet summer roads. For a more in-depth look into tyre maintenance,  read our previous article.  

4. Ensure battery health

Higher Summer temperatures can accelerate the chemical reaction inside your car’s battery, causing it to overcharge. When we think of our car’s battery, we tend to estimate it lacks charge, when in fact, having too much is just as hazardous. Have your battery serviced and tested to ensure it’s holding a charge properly and that the terminals are clean and corrosion-free.

Battery top tip:

Consider investing in a battery charger or maintainer  if you plan on using your vehicle less frequently during the summer months.

5. Inspect vehicle belts and hoses

The heat can cause rubber components like belts and hoses to deteriorate more rapidly. Inspect for any signs of wear, cracking, or softening. Replacing these parts before they fail can prevent a breakdown or future costly repairs.

6. Test all vehicle lights

Long summer days might mean you use your headlights less often, but it’s still crucial to ensure all lights are functioning correctly. This is often missed but we firmly believe this is summer vehicle maintenance must-do. Testing your lights is something we associate with winter nights that draw in by 4pm, but it still forms an essential check in the lighter months. Check all of your vehicle’s lights, including:

  • Headlights
  • Brake lights
  • Indicators
  • Hazard lights

As part of the check, clean any dirt or haze from all headlight lenses to improve visibility.

7. Prepare an emergency kit

Something we’ve covered before in a dedicated article, an emergency kit really could save the day (or night!) Unfortunately, with the best maintenance and will in the world, emergencies can happen. Prepare a summer-specific emergency kit that includes:

  • Plenty of drinking water
  • Non-perishable snacks
  • A first-aid kit
  • Extra coolant and oil
  • A portable phone charger
  • Sunblock and hats
  • Basic tools and a flashlight

8. Keep your vehicle clean and tidy

It may seem like an obvious point, but we can’t overstate the importance of maintaining a clean and safe car; both internally and externally. Regularly wash and wax your vehicle to protect the paint from sun damage. Inside, use sunshades to block UV rays and keep the interior cooler. Consider window tinting for additional protection.

Summer vehicle maintenance – our final thoughts

By taking these proactive steps, you are helping to ensure your vehicle remains reliable and comfortable throughout the summer months. Regular maintenance not only extends the life of your car, but also provides peace of mind as you embark on your summer adventures. The team at John Delany Motors want each of our customers to stay cool, safe, and on the road all year round.

Taking accountability for your vehicle and driving

The summer months often see an increase in traffic accidents due to a combination of factors that can affect driving conditions and driver behaviour. The main reasons why more accidents occur during this season are:

  • Increased volumes of traffic
  • Longer daylight hours
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Distracted driving habits
  • Heat-related weather conditions
  • Increased road construction works
  • Increased use of recreational vehicles (bicycles and motorcycles)
  • More pedestrians walking near the roads
  • Overconfidence and increased driving aggression

Here at Delany’s, your car safety has always been and continues to be our top priority. A huge part of that involves you also being accountable for prioritising your vehicle’s health, especially in the warmer summer months. To ensure you stay on the road all year round, don’t forget to take advantage of the support the team offers. Next time you’re in with us, you can sign up for regular alerts and appointment reminders, which will mean your vehicle never misses its next check and service. We store all your details with the utmost confidentiality, so your reminders are safely unique to you and your vehicle.

We appreciate how busy life is, so we like to provide a helping hand in ensuring your vehicle is running at an optimum performance 365 days a year. It’s one of the many personal touches that we pride ourselves on; offering continued customer service, as a way of illustrating how well we know both yourself and your vehicle.

So whether it’s an unfamiliar sound, a funny smell, or a suspected leak, if something feels as if it will stop you from getting away this Summer, our dedicated team of vehicle experts are here to help! If you have any questions before planning your next Summer vacation with the current condition of your vehicle, either contact us here or give us a call on 0161 477 6266. We’ll soon have your vehicle summer proof!