8 simple ways to maintain your car in summer
Taking care of your car is a year-round job that requires you to keep a close eye on the various components to ensure it remains in good working order. This is especially true in summer when the high temperatures can place a lot of stress onto the vehicle. To ensure you remain trouble-free in the warmer months, we’ve put together 8 simple ways to prepare your car for summer.
1. Watch the oil levels
The oil in your car ensures the engine remains lubricated, cooled, cleaned and protected from unnecessary damage. It is the lifeblood of the engine, so you must always keep an eye on its current level. The amount of oil should sit between the maximum and minimum part of the dipstick. If you are unsure which oil to use to top up, you can refer to your car’s manual which will have all the details you need. Try to check the oil level at least once a week so you are not suddenly caught short.
2. Maintain engine coolant levels
Checking the engine coolant levels is something that millions of drivers around the UK forget to do on a regular basis. If left unchecked, it could lead to expensive repairs if the levels are too low to stop the engine from overheating.
The coolant fluid level should be filled to the maximum marking on the tank. It is recommended you check this at least once a week. Coolant levels should remain at the same level in between having the car serviced, so if you have noticed it has lowered, make sure to contact a professional to take a closer look.
3. Check the condition of your brakes
If you’re planning a long-distance drive for a weekend away, you should check your brake fluid level, which is found in the brake fluid reservoir. If you find the brake fluid colour is a darker shade, this could indicate a problem and would require a professional.
It’s worth asking an expert to assess your brakes before a long drive regardless, as they will be able to check your brakes aren’t dangerously worn down.
4. Manage your tyre pressure
The tyres bear the brunt and weight of the car and the air pressure should be checked weekly to ensure they are in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. Punctures during the summer are far more likely to occur due to the high temperatures that can accelerate existing damage you may not be aware of. If you find tyre pressure is falling quickly in only one tyre, this could be because of a slow puncture.
By law, your tyre tread depth should be at least 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tread. Even in summer, the British weather can still be notoriously unpredictable, and you need to ensure the car can disperse surface water as you are driving. Though, with the Leasing Options Total Care package, you are covered for replacement tyres.
5. Take care of the bodywork
With schools closed and more people travelling abroad during the summer, this is often the time when local authorities carry out important road maintenance. As a result, there is more debris that can come loose from roads which have just been resurfaced, such as tar and stones. These fragments can potentially flick up and damage your car’s bodywork.
The best way to avoid this is to stay within the recommended speed limits as you drive through areas where roadworks are taking place, and keep a safe distance from other vehicles that may sweep debris into your car.
6. Ensure you have air conditioning
Even if you are driving at a good speed, the warm air coming in through open windows may still not be cooling enough. If you are stuck in a traffic jam for a sustained period on a hot summer’s day, it can not only be extremely uncomfortable but also potentially dangerous to your health. That’s why it’s important to make sure your air conditioning unit is in good working order.
Around 15% of the refrigerant gas is lost each year, which is why it is recommended you have your air conditioning unit serviced every 30,000 miles. On average, this works out to about every two years.
7. Keep the windscreen clean
During the summer there is an increase of bugs and insects, and the higher temperatures can make smog and grime more prevalent in the air. When you add in sun glare, this can decrease visibility and increase the likelihood of an accident taking place.
Keep windscreen wash to hand, so you can give it a quick clean when needed. Also, make sure to check the condition of your windscreen wipers. When they become worn out, they will smear rather than clear the dirt from the glass, only making matters worse. If they need replacing, arrange to have this done at the start of the summer.
8. Clean your air filter
On average, the air filter should be replaced every 12-15,000 miles driven, although this will depend on the make and model of the car and the driving conditions it is exposed to on a regular basis. The filter keeps air circulating through the engine, preventing dirt and debris from getting inside. Naturally, it will become clogged up over time, especially during the summer.
Replacing the air filter yourself is a straightforward task that only takes a few minutes when the engine is turned off and cool. You can also use compressed air to clear away any debris to improve the engine’s efficiency.
Summer essentials to carry in your car
With a lease car, wear and tear is expected, but to avoid depreciating your vehicle’s value further, all of the above steps will help keep your car in good condition throughout the summer. There are also some essential items you should always have with you in the car to help with maintenance and any sudden emergencies:
- A good torch that uses long life batteries (with spares to hand)
- A full first aid kit to treat any minor short-term injuries
- A warning triangle to let other drivers know you have broken down
- A high visibility jacket/vest so you are visible to others at night
- A fire extinguisher to put out any small fires
- A light bulb kit to replace any failed bulbs in the car
- Extra water, engine oil and windscreen lubricant
- A working sat nav system or updated road map
If you choose to lease a vehicle with Leasing Options and opt for our maintenance package, we will take care of the important jobs all year round – not just in summer. Simply take your car to any of our UK-based approved dealerships for maintenance and servicing. You can read more about leasing with maintenance in our FAQs, or if you are ready to go ahead, simply contact our friendly customer service team.