We do love a bit of warmth and sunshine during the summer, but so far this year we have seen quite the heatwave! Just as we sometimes overheat and feel like we can’t, so can our vehicles especially if we are using them regularly on congested, hot urban roads. Let’s take a look at how a few simple actions on your part can help keep your car running smoothly and not overheat.
Vehicle cooling systems have become very sophisticated over the last few years. Whether you are driving an old banger or a brand-new vehicle though the cooling system is still crucial to ensuring smooth running of the engine and avoiding overheating problems. You should have your coolant replaced every year, so if you have not done that yet in the last twelve months now would be a good time to get it done. If you have had it changed, then it’s still worth checking the levels. It’s easy nowadays – just check that the levels are between the minimum and maximum markers. One other thing to keep in mind as you do that is how thin or thick the liquid is, in other words its viscosity. Too thin and you should top up.
While you are at the cooling system end of the engine, have a quick check at the fan as well. You want to make sure that the fins are free of any debris or dust that could build up and prevent it from working at its maximum efficiency.
It’s a well-known fact that batteries can suffer in the cold weather. But hot weather is even worse for them as they also have to deal with engine fans working overtime as well as an air conditioning system on full blast. Keep on top of a long battery life by checking for signs of corrosion on the battery terminals and cables. Gently clean them if you do spot any and replace your battery if it is badly corroded. In fact, you should be replacing your battery once every four years or so, so if it is nearly time then do it soon.
Also check electrolyte levels and top up if necessary. Evaporation in the summer heat does lead to electrolyte loss so it is worth keeping an eye on that more often than usual when it is very hot.
As important as the cooling system, oil will keep your engine well lubricated and avoid excessive wear and tear. Like your cooling system, it should be changed annually and topped up as necessary. Always check oil levels before a long trip and always do it when the engine is cold. Oil will lose its viscosity over time as well as with use, so if you use the vehicle regularly you may need to top up more often as well.
We have talked about tyres many times and we will continue to emphasise it as it can be a big safety issue if you are driving on worn tyres. Make sure your tyres are at the right pressure level and check more frequently over the hotter months as expanding air can lead to higher than optimum pressure. In the summer the day and night temperature fluctuation can also lead to something called dry rot, which is the cracking of the tyre walls. Keep an eye on them over the summer for greater peace of mind.
For a full vehicle check or for assistance with any maintenance issues, our team at Bromley Vehicle Test Centre is on hand to help out. All you have to do is get in touch on 020 8460 6666 to make an appointment, or just drop in.