It’s a season of warm temperatures, long holiday drives and summer storms, so it’s no wonder that our cars can cause us problems at this time of year as they take a battering from the intense weather conditions. Many people presume that winter is the worst season for breakdowns, but summer can also be problematic for vehicles. By making sure you get your car serviced and perform general maintenance checks before long journeys, you should avoid the worst of summer related car issues.
With the British summer expected to be longer than ever this year, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the common vehicle issues you may experience so you can spot the signs early. If you’re wondering why the rising temperatures can have a negative effect on engines, read on for some of the most common car problems we experience here at Windmill Garage during the summer months.
Air conditioning leaks
Nobody likes travelling in a sweltering car, which is why if it has air conditioning installed it will probably be in use for the majority of the summer. Even cooler days with a lot of sunshine can cause cars to become unbearable, especially when sitting stationary in traffic or driving long distances. However, air conditioning systems are very complex and there are a number of issues which can arise with them. To prevent leaks, get the air conditioning serviced and topped up every couple of years which will keep it as efficient as possible. This will also prevent any bad odours and make sure the system isn’t releasing any harmful pollutants into the atmosphere.
Traffic jams, long journeys and hot weather are a recipe for disaster. It’s easy for many engines to overheat (even in the UK climate), so take measures to try and prevent it from happening. Check the cooling fan is in use, and the coolant levels are correct to keep the engine as cold and clam as possible. If you think your engine may be prone to overheating, it’s worth getting it checked out by a mechanic who will be able to advise if any parts need replacing. Your car can dangerously overheat so always keep an eye on the engine temperature on hot days.
Did you know that hot roads can put more pressure on tyres? High temperatures can also worsen any current damage to tyres, meaning punctures are actually quite common during the summer. Check the tyre pressure regularly, and if the pressure is dropping quickly then you may have a slow puncture so get it checked out at a garage. You should also ensure the tyre tread doesn’t fall below the legal limit of 1.6mm.
It’s also essential if you’re setting off on a summer road trip to check the vehicle has a spare tyre. Extra weight in the car from passengers and luggage can also cause tyre problems, including punctures which cannot be repaired. Don’t get stranded in the middle of nowhere – make sure you have a spare tyre to use in emergencies – even if you have a callout breakdown service they will struggle to locate a brand new tyre for your car.
You’ll find there are a lot of roadworks and resurfacing going on at this time of year, which could cause damage to the exterior of your car. Stay within the recommended speed limit when driving through road work zones, to prevent loose stones and debris from hitting and scratching the bodywork. Bodywork damage is usually totally preventable if you stay aware on the roads and drive within the speed limit.
The hot months are just as challenging as winter for our vehicles – so stay alert and take measures to avoid these common summer problems. If you’re relying on your car for holidays, summer road trips or to get you to those special occasions such as weddings or festivals, then you really need to stay on top of vehicle maintenance and have it looked at by a professional mechanic if you have any concerns.
We’ve all had the awful experience of getting into your car on a cold frosty morning to discover the engine won’t start due to a flat battery. Motorists often believe winter places the most stress on car batteries, but it’s just as common to experience a dead battery during the summer. The constant warm temperatures can take a toll on all parts on the vehicle, including the battery and the engine. Stay aware of the age of your battery and if you think it may need replacing, don’t wait until the autumn!
Clutch wear and tear
The way we drive in the summer can have an adverse effect on the clutch. Sitting in slow moving holiday traffic, towing an extra vehicle such as a caravan or driving on unfamiliar remote roads means we may use the clutch more often – taking its toll on the vehicle’s clutch. The good news is that a clutch rarely fails out of the blue – there will be warning signs to watch out for including a high clutch bite or the pedal feeling heavy. If you can feel your clutch changing then it’s always a good idea to get it checked out, especially if you have long journeys planned.
The hot months are just as challenging as winter for our vehicles – so stay alert and take measures to avoid these common problems.