Essential car maintenance tips for summer

Summer is in full swing, and that means scorching temperatures, long road trips, and plenty of adventures under the sun. While you're busy planning your next beach getaway or game drive, don't forget to give your trusty vehicle some TLC too.

“The heat can be tough on your car, but a little preventive car maintenance goes a long way,” advises Barend Smit, Marketing Director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions.

Before hitting the road this summer, you can take several simple precautions to keep you and your passengers safe and your car in good condition:

  • Keep your engine cool. Ensure your car’s cooling system is working properly by checking coolant levels and inspecting hoses for cracks and leaks. Also, inspect the radiator for debris or dirt that might block airflow.
  • Check that the aircon is working smoothly and replace air filters if necessary. This is usually covered by most car services.
  • Inspect tyre pressure and tread depth. Hot weather can cause tyre pressure to rise, leading to blowouts. Check your tyre pressure regularly and maintain it within the manufacturer's recommended range. (You can find a guideline inside your driver’s door.) If your tyres’ tread is low, consider replacing your tyres.
  • Protect your car’s interior from the harsh sunlightwith a windshield sunshade and apply a UV protectant.
  • Ensure oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid are at the proper levels. The heat can cause fluids to evaporate more quickly.
  • If your car battery is more than three years old, have it tested to ensure it can handle the extra strain of summer driving? Examine the battery terminals for corrosion and clean them if needed.
  • Have your brakes inspected. The heat can be hard on a car’s brakes.

“If you're not comfortable performing these checks yourself, take your car to a trusted mechanic for a comprehensive summer maintenance check,” advises Smit. “This is especially important if you’re planning any road trips this summer. Don’t leave car care to the last minute. Give yourself enough time (and budget) to ensure your car is safe for the road.”

A recent survey in the UK shows that many motorists are skipping car services due to the cost-of-living crisis, and with November and December traditionally a more expensive month for most consumers, it might be tempting to forego car services. Smit advises against this. “Having your car serviced on time saves money in the long run because small problems can be identified before they become more costly issues. It’s at times like these that a service plan makes sense. A service plan is a way of budgeting for car services, with affordable monthly payment options. This way, when it comes time to service your car, you know you are already covered. This makes it easier to manage your budget for other year-end expenses.”

Remember, taking care of your car in the summer isn't just about keeping it looking good; it's about keeping it running smoothly and ensuring your safety on the road. Safe travels and enjoy your sun-soaked adventures!