Your car won’t enjoy the hot weather as much as you do. Here are some top tips to keeping it happy in a heat wave.
Maintaining your fluids is vital at any point in the year, but during a heatwave, you’ll want to pay particular attention to your engine coolant. Coolant has the job of preventing corrosion damage inside your engine, and if it’s too low, it can overheat your engine. To check your coolant level, let your engine cool down after driving and consult your manual to locate the bottle. The level should be in between the two marks on the bottle. You should also check your oil levels, transmission fluid, brake fluid and wiper fluid.
2. Belts & Hoses
Your internal belts and hoses are important to the overall function of your car, with belts kick-starting the alternator and hoses carrying gas, air and brake fluid. During a spell of extreme heat, the hose and belts can crack, causing them to break down. So, if there’s due to be a long spell of hot weather, it’s worth having a professional take a look at them to ensure they’re in good shape.
If your car’s battery is older, the intense heat can put even more strain on it. To avoid costly repairs, get it tested or even replaced - a new battery will cost you less than an emergency call-out if you break down.
4. Tyre Pressure
Tyres expand when they are exposed to heat, so get them checked regularly, ideally each time you stop at a fuel garage. Having tyres at the correct pressure will ensure you don’t suffer any issues in the heat. To find out the right pressure, refer to your owner manual. You can then check the levels by purchasing a pressure gauge from any car accessory shop. Once you’ve done this, remove the valve cap from one tyre and insert the gauge until the hissing sound stops, and the gauge will give you a reading. If they’re under pressure, you can add air to them at your local garage. If they’re over pressure, let air out using the metal pin inside the valve stem.
Making sure your car is actually cool enough to drive in is incredibly important. If it’s 20 degrees outside, that often means that inside your car, it can be up to 40 degrees, which makes for an uncomfortable drive. Check that your air conditioning is working properly, and ensure you clean your vents of any dust. If your car is too hot when you get in it, there are a number of things you can try. Open the windows, and turn your air vents towards the footwell. As heat rises, the cold air will force the hot air inside the car to escape out of the windows. You can also fan the car by opening and closing your door repeatedly, albeit at the cost of potentially looking odd to passers by! Once you start driving, keep your windows open until the air conditioning feels cooler than the outside air.
Most people keep useful items in their car, but during a heatwave, you need to have a cull, or you could risk causing a fire. Pay particular attention to aerosols such as deodorant - they can explode if the temperature rises. Other no-no items are lighters, hand sanitizer, and sunglasses.
When you’re parking, try to avoid doing so in direct sunlight. If you can’t find a shady spot, purchase a windscreen shield. If you leave your car out in the sun for too long, it can cause damage to your interior, such as the dashboard cracking.