Prepare your Car for Long Hot Summer-protect your vehicle

Summer can have a harsh effect on your car. From affecting the coat of paint to the pressure in tyres, summer has a harmful effect on every vehicle unless you take the right precautions. Here are a few tips to protect your vehicle against the hazards of summer.

Oil-Cars are more likely to overheat in the summer. But it’s not just the hot temperatures that cause overheating. Heavy driving can also cause your engine to overheat. Prepare for hot days and long trips by giving your car a thorough systems check. An oil check is a good place to start. If the oil is a dark colour or there’s a lot of dirt and grime present, it’s time for an oil change and filter replacement. Many technicians recommend an oil change every 5,000km.

Fluid levels-Fill coolant, transmission, differential, power steering and brake fluids to suggested levels. During the summer, coolant should be added as a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water. It’s not a bad idea to look under your car for any fluids that may be dripping. If you see any, there’s a good chance you have a leak. A reputable service station will tell you what’s wrong and give you an estimate for summer prepare

Hoses and belts-Check hoses for cracks, leaks and loose connections. Hoses should be firm, especially where they are most vulnerable near clamps that connect to the radiator or engine. Soft or flexible hoses often indicate a problem. Likewise, check belts for cracks and damage. A smooth or slick belt may be a sign of excessive wear. The material should not be separated into different layers. Experts say belt failure rises dramatically after 58000km. If you’re beyond that point, it’s time for a check up.

Brakes-If your brake pedal is soft and mushy, hard and resistant, or produces loud and constant scraping noises, it’s likely time for new brakes. Fixing brakes in a timely manner can prevent more costly problems in the future.

Air filter-Inspect your filter. If it’s filthy, replace it. A dirty or blocked air filter is hard on the engine and lowers fuel efficiency. Most drivers replace air filters every 19,300km, but those that do a lot of driving on dirt or gravel roads may need to replace them even more frequently.

Air conditioner-Air conditioning units should be serviced every three years or as needed. The most common cause of a malfunctioning air conditioning unit is a low level of refrigerant. Have a professional check your A/C unit for leaks and evaluate refrigerant levels.

Tyres-Summer can be tough on your tyres. That’s because tyre pressure changes with rising temperatures. Under- or over-inflated tyros put you at risk of accidents, blowouts and flats. Check your owner’s manual to make sure your tyres are inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications. This will help you save money at the pump, too. Properly inflated tyres increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency by up to three per cent. Also, have your local service shop check your tyres for proper alignment and balance before a long road trip.

Cleaning-Give your car a thorough cleaning, inside and out, including the underside of your car where accumulated grime and dirt can make your engine and transmission unnecessarily hot. Cleaning the inside of your car will give you a more comfortable ride and potentially lighten your load by eliminating unnecessary items.

Windshield wipers-If wipers are cracked, torn or leave streaks, replace them to maximize your visibility during dust and sand storms.