After a cold and miserable winter, the sun has finally started to shine again. With early heat waves of up to 24 degrees, the chance of having more days like these is greater than ever. Although the sun and everything else related to the summer sounds great, we must remind you that the heat also has its downsides, especially on your vehicle! We have all been informed on how to keep our cars road worthy for the icy winter. Now the time has come to take a few points into consideration for the forthcoming hotter months.
Heat causes air to expand, in other words, tyres will inflate depending on the temperature. In some extreme cases tyres can explode with very high temperatures. Luckily, we live in the UK, so there shouldn't be any concern. Just make sure you keep your tire pressures to the manufacturers recommendations (which can usually be found on the inside of the driver's door or fuel tank lid). Roads can become extremely hot, which will increase the chance of punctures. To prevent these, make sure your tires have the recommended air pressure and look for any small tears or inconsistent patterns in the tyres.
During hot days, we advise you to keep an eye on your engine temperature gauge. Overheated engines are a common problem during the summer months as hot coolant, coolant shortages and badly maintained radiators are engine killers! Have your coolant level checked and make sure you have a 50/50 coolant water distribution. If you notice an increase in engine temperature, try to turn off the air conditioning and turn the heating of the car to the maximum. Even though it will be unbearable for a moment, it will allow some of the heat to escape from the engine. Stop immediately if the temperature doesn't go down. Check for coolant leaks and call a repair service, as every extra mile driven could be fatal to your car's engine.
Hotter days will automatically result in more drivers using their air conditioning. This will impact fuel consumption as the engine will have to work harder. In fact, it will decrease your mpg by 5% to 10%. The same problem occurs when leaving the windows down whilst driving. It has an even worse impact on fuel consumption as open windows can increase the fuel consumption by up to 20%. Open windows also make the vehicle unstable. Research has proven that driving with your windows open is recommended until you reach a speed of 45 mph, the air conditioning will be the more efficient (and quiet) solution at any higher speeds.
There are a few things you can try to decrease the use of the air conditioning. Look for shaded spots when parking the car, or try to drive as much as you can in the morning or evening when the day is at its coolest.
We all know that malfunctioning batteries are a very common problem during the winter. Unfortunately, it's not over yet as heat is the number one enemy of car batteries. High temperatures can evaporate battery fluids resulting in corrosion on terminals and connectors. You can get rid of the corrosion by applying a solution of baking powder and water with steel wool. Keeping your vehicle in the shade will also keep your battery at a cooler temperature.