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Did you know that the summer weather affects your vehicle?

Follow these tips and your summer driving should be stress free on both you and your car.

SUMMERTIME DRIVING CAN be lots of fun, especially when the sun is out, the radio is on and you have a few days off work. But there are some things that you should be aware of when driving in hot, sunny weather as the combination of heat, long trips and heavy loads can take its toll on your car.

So before you head off on the open road make sure your motor is summer ready.

Source: Shutterstock/rightdx

Air-con

This is not just a driving luxury, it is a must if you are carrying a car full of people. Cool, calm passengers make for better driving companions.

Check that the air-con is really cold and doesn’t smell. If it isn’t icy cold you may need to top up the refrigerant and if it is stinky you make need to change the pollen filter or clean the matrix.

Changing the pollen filter is also a great idea if you or your passengers suffer from hay fever, and closing the air vents will reduce the amount of pollen getting into the cabin.

Battery

Fluid evaporates quicker in hot weather so if you have a serviceable wet cell battery top up fluid levels. Make sure you top up all fluids while the car is cold.

Source: Newspress

Coolant

Coolant is a mix of water and antifreeze – the antifreeze raises the boiling point of the coolant – so, as with the battery fluid, it is important in hot weather to make sure this is topped up in order to keep your car cool and stop it from overheating.

If your car does overheat, you need to wait until it has cooled down before opening the radiator cap, as the coolant will be hot and pressurised and may scald you if opened.

Over heating

You may think I am being over optimistic about this one happening in Ireland, but the risk of heatstroke (hyperthermia) increases significantly when the outside temperature reaches 22 degrees Celsius, and temperatures here have already surpassed this in the last month!

When the sun’s rays shine through car windows they heat up the objects they strike, e.g. the dark dashboard, steering wheel, seats, doors etc. Research has shown that a car parked in 25-degree heat can reach 43 degrees in just half an hour, and that’s with the windows cracked.

Therefore, you should never ever leave a child or animal alone in a car, not even for a minute.

Source: Shutterstock/Arsgera

Keep your car cool when driving by turning on the air-con or opening the windows. Buy sunshades for the windows and put a reflector up when parked. Try to park the car in the shade.

To cool the inside of your car, roll down the windows, turn the a/c on, turn off the recirculate button and turn the fan up high. Drive for a few minutes until the warm air starts to leave the car and the air in the car starts to feel cooler. Then you can switch the a/c back to recirculate and close up the windows.

Source: Shutterstock/Rita Kochmarjova

Oil

As oil flows through your car’s engine it cools it down, therefore, it is really important in summer to make sure that the oil level is correct and that your oil is clean – the cleaner your oil the better it is at cooling your car down. Make sure you use the oil viscosity recommended in your car’s manual and if you haven’t had the oil changed in a while, maybe think about getting one done if you are planning on lots of road trips over the summer.

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Tyres

Make sure your tyres are properly inflated before you set off. Check the pressure when the tyres are cold, not after a three-hour drive! For every five-degree Celsius change in temperature, your tyre pressure could change too; from 1 to 2 psi.

Under-inflated tyres create excess friction, which causes heat and if it is already hot out then the tyres are more likely to fail. Also, as heat makes air expand, over-inflated tyres could result in a blowout.

If you are going to be loading up your car with people and luggage you need to take this into consideration when checking tyre pressure and if you have a spare tyre, make sure it is properly inflated, too.

Windscreen

Glare is a real hazard to drivers and the best way to reduce glare is to keep your windscreen squeaky clean – dirty windows tend to scatter light rays magnifying the effects of glare. It is also important to keep the inside of the windscreen clean too as this reduces the likelihood of fogging.

The sun’s rays can also damage the windscreen wipers, destroying the rubber and whilst we know it is not going to rain at all this summer (come on, I’m being positive), bugs and insects on the windscreen are a problem.

Natural-rubber wiper blades have a shelf life of about one year so consider replacing your blades if you haven’t done so in a while and top up washer fluid, too.

Source: Shutterstock/wavebreakmedia

Finally, keep a cool box or bag in the car stocked with bottles of water and take lots of pit-stops for ice-cream. Following these tips should make your summer driving stress free on both you and your car.

READ: Make your car safer with these tech add-ons

READ: My best road trip – England and Wales

About the author:

Melanie May  / https://www.melaniemay.com

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