Car Maintenance 101: Help Your Car Beat The Heat This Summer (9 Pro Tips)
Summer is here (hooray!). As the temperatures begin to rise and the days are getting longer, make sure the heat doesn’t melt your car’s resale value or ruin your holiday with these top maintenance tips.
With summer and the festive season upon us, you are probably gearing up for summer holidays, days spent on the beach and possibly even a road trip with your family.
It’s a good idea to ensure you get clued up on some practical maintenance tips to ensure you don’t get stranded on the side of the road whilst en route to your well deserved holiday.
Practical maintenance tips to ensure your car beats the heat this summer
1. Check the battery
The last thing you want is to have a car that doesn’t start because of a faulty battery.
It’s important to look after your car’s battery and ensure it is always in good working order. Hot weather can cause the battery fluid in your car’s battery to evaporate which can lead to internal damage.
Before going on a long road trip, get your car’s battery and electrical system checked out by a certified mechanic to make sure it is charging correctly. It’s also advised that you keep the top of the battery clean to prevent any dirt from acting as a conductor and draining the battery.
While you’re here, have a look at this blog on 5 signs your car might need a service.
2. Make sure your aircon is working properly
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a car for a long road trip with an aircon that doesn’t work. Before leaving on your road trip, get your aircon checked and possibly regassed if need be.
Did you know that the majority of aircon malfunctions are caused by low levels of refrigerant? Because of this need to get your aircon serviced roughly every 3 years.
3. Look after the paintwork
Sunshine can do a lot of damage to the paintwork of your car. In time, exposure to the baking sun can cause oxidation, which is basically just a fancy word for premature fading.
You can prevent this by parking your car in the shade (FYI, watch out for bird poop when parking under trees as this can be very acidic and also damage the paintwork of your car).
Not only will parking in the shade protect your car’s paint, but it will also any rubber trim and your headlights.
A good way to prolong the life of your car’s paintwork is to regularly wax your car.
If this is too time-consuming for you, there are a number of local (and really good) car washes that can do it for you.
Wax will protect your car’s paint from scratches, UV radiation, and even small little dents.
4. Check the fluids
Just how we need to drink more water in hot weather, your car might need a little extra fluid. Make sure the transmission fluid, power steering fluids, coolant, and brake fluid are all at the right level.
Your car’s cooling system will have to put in some extra work to prevent the engine from overheating, which is why you need to always check it.
5. Is it time for an oil change?
Cars have a higher risk of overheating in the heat of summer. Some drivers think that overheating is a from the hot weather, but driving more than you normally would also cause your car to overheat (which is often what happens on long road trips).
This is why a mechanic should take a close look at your car and inspect the oil. If the oil looks a little darker and there are grime and dirt present in the oil, then it’s time to change it.
6. Wipe it clean
Something that a number of drivers forget to check or replace before a road trip are the wiper blades. If your wiper blades are leaving streaks on your windscreen and are torn or cracked, then it’s time for a new pair! You can buy blades at your local hardware store, and if you are lucky, they might even put these on your car for you.
7. Straight steering
With summer comes new potholes which, when hit by your car, might damage your car’s wheel alignment (read: Top Tips To Protect Your Vehicle From Potholes: The South African Driver’s Guide). If you feel your car pulling to the side, then you should get your wheel alignment checked.
8. Tyre tread
Make sure your tyre pressure is correct and that the tread on your tyres is not worn.
This is what Good Year and have to say about tyre tread in South Africa “Under South African law, your treads must be at least 1.6mm deep around the tyre's circumference.”
You can check out more information from their blog here.
9. Make sure you are covered for the unexpected
The final thing you need to ensure you have in place before you drive on any of our roads is car insurance. And better yet, vehicle insurance that lets you tailor your cover according to your needs and your budget.
Happy holidays - stay safe out there!
Yours in uncomplicated car insurance,