When the weather starts to warm up many of us think about planning ahead – maybe boosting our health and fitness regime, getting a haircut, a pedicure, or perhaps buying a new swimsuit and stocking up on sunscreen.
Have you ever considered that your car might need a bit of preparation too?
The Aussie summer can be tough on cars, but making sure your car is checked ahead of the hot months and looked after on hot, hot, days, can save you hassles over the holidays, and for the remainder of the car’s life.
According to statistics from the NRMA, New South Wales Roadside Assistance service callouts over summer tend to relate to three things: overheating, a dead battery, or busted tyres.
Typically, these are ‘hot weather problems’.
Keep the fluids up
Car engines can be affected by the rise in weather temperature, and if you leave your car in the hot sun for hours, then the fluids can also start to evaporate. So over the hot months it’s important to keep an eye on all the fluids – radiator fluid, engine oil, and transmission fluid; power steering fluid, brake fluid and air conditioning coolant too.
Make sure your tyres are in top condition
Many people don’t know this, but warmer temperatures and hot bitumen can both affect your tyres. As the temperature rises, the air pressure in your tyres increases proportionally as well. This can mean you end up with a flat tyre, or a blow out. Blowouts tend to occur when the tyre is in poor condition, so if you intend to be driving around a lot over the summer (even the extra trips ferrying kids here and there to different activities during the school break can take its toll) then making sure your tyres are in good shape is an absolute must do.
And during the hot months, look after your battery too – remember that leaving the air conditioning and fans on can drain your battery, and then when you least expect it, you could find that it’s suddenly done and dusted.
Sun and salt damage
Most Aussies know the damage that sun and salt air can do to your car’s exterior. So try to park in the shade when you can and remember if you’re spending a lot of time at the beach, regular washing will get rid of the salt which can cause corrosion and rust. Salt can also cause a sort of ‘sunburn’ if you leave your car in the sun, and this will, over time, completely ruin your paint, but looking after your car over the summer months will keep it looking good, long term.
Get a pre-holiday check up
If you’re heading away on a road trip then make sure you book your car in for a check up before you go. This doesn’t have to be a full service unless that’s necessary, but having a professional check up will give you peace of mind and prevent car trouble from ruining your holiday.
A mechanic can let you know if there are any problems so you can fix them before you go. If you’re heading into regional or remote areas, or sometimes even just sleepy beach towns along the coast, you might not find a mechanic open, or parts you need might not be in stock. So just avoid the hassle and check everything before you go.
And … make sure your registration and insurances are up to date before you hit the road.