Beat the heat with our summer vehicle maintenance tips

Many vehicle owners worry about the strain winter takes on their vehicles – but neglect their car when summer arrives with its own special demands. But the hot, dusty conditions and longer drives of summer can be just as taxing for fleet vehicles.

So we’ve talked to motoring experts at the AA to produce this list of tips to keep your vehicle healthy for summer:

Stay cool

The first summer job is to check your engine coolant. If it drops below the minimum mark, get it checked. A hose could be leaking, meaning you are in danger of a costly over-heating breakdown. 

Avoid chips

There are more road works in summer. This can mean loose stones and tar on the road. When you see new surfaces or work debris drive slowly to avoid flicking up bits that can damage your vehicle’s bodywork or other people’s cars. 

Don’t get tyred out

Punctures cause most summer breakdowns, according to the AA. High temperatures alter tyre pressures and can aggravate existing tyre damage. So it’s important to monitor tyre pressures every week. If the pressure keeps dropping in one tyre, it could be a slow puncture. And over-inflated tyres can cause skids during summer thunderstorms.

Better battery

Batteries are traditional winter worries but they can have a lot to deal with in the summer too. Heat can cause more damage than cold. Keep battery terminals clean and check if your battery fluid needs topping up with distilled water. Summer can cause it to evaporate or overcharge the battery. If a vehicle struggles to start, it could be a sign the battery is on its last legs.

Look sharp

Glare from the sun will be worsened by a dirty windscreen. So check your wiper blades are up to the job and you’ve enough windscreen wash.

Chill out

Air conditioning can keep drivers alert in the hottest jams. It can also help reduce pollen levels for hay-fever sufferers. Regular recharging and cleaning keeps air-con units working to maximum efficiency.

* Remember that air conditioning adds to your fuel cost. 

Keep it clean

Your air filter keeps summer dust from entering your engine. It has a tendency to get clogged up in the summer and should be replaced as part of your annual service.

Check it out

For the summer it’s also worth checking parts that are under the greatest summer strain, like oil and fluids, engine belts and hoses.

Overseas aid

If company vehicles are heading overseas during the summer remember to check that the driver is carrying the right compulsory documents and accessories for the countries visited. The AA produces a handy guide for the most popular countries here.