The evenings are lighter and days are getting warmer. As a driver, you’re probably happy that there are no more dark mornings spent defrosting that car or black ice patches to avoid, but the new season brings with it fresh dangers.
Now is the time to make sure your car is road-ready for summer. Whether you’re uncovering your classic car for summer Sunday drives or planning a weekend jaunt to the seaside, you need to prepare. Now would be a good time to do some pre-driving maintenance on your car if you haven’t already.
With the government revealing its steps out of Covid restrictions, there’s the growing prospect of more car travel in the near future and even summer staycations, adding that extra incentive to get your car in tip-top condition. Here are our top 5 car maintenance tips to get your car ready for summer.
- Check tyres and tyre pressure
The only point of contact between your vehicle and the road, tyres affect handling, braking and acceleration – so it is important to look after them!
Monitor tyre tread and make sure none are balding; they will need adequate traction for the months ahead.
You also need to check your pressure; using a tyre pressure gauge, check against your car manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure your tyres are properly inflated, and add more air if required.
Don’t forget to check the spare wheel too & a puncture repair kit can be handy to keep in the car.
- Check your alignment
This one sounds technical, but you can check your car’s alignment simply by observing how it moves when the steering wheel is centered. If your car doesn’t drive straight ahead, but veers to one side, definitely get your alignment checked. This problem is often caused by potholes and other rough winter road conditions, and getting it fixed early can ensure that your tires don’t wear out prematurely, saving you money in the long run!
- Listen to and feel the brakes
Do you hear a grinding sound when you step on the brakes? If so, the brakes may need to be replaced. Even if you don’t think there’s a problem, it’s never a bad idea to have an auto technician check them. National retailers offer free brake inspections.
- Secure and test the battery
Inspect and clean your battery if needed. Look at the contacts, and if there is a white corrosive build up, clean it. Use a stiff toothbrush and a baking soda/water mixture to remove it.
Because your vehicle works extra hard during winter, it is easier for the battery to drain. Most auto parts stores offer a free battery inspection. If you suspect your batter life is low, check the date that it was installed and visit your local auto parts retailer if it is older than four years.
- Top off engine oil and other fluids
- Engine oil – Wipe the dipstick and re-insert to get an accurate reading.
- Brake fluid – Usually in a transparent tank with lines indicating the maximum and minimum levels. If it is low, top up the fluid, but keep an eye on it to ensure there’s no leak.
- Coolant –Your cooling system must be able to regulate the engine’s temperature, particularly in summer when there’s more chance of overheating.
- Screen wash – Glare from the sun can make visibility difficult, so you’ll need to make sure you have enough screen wash fluid to be able to effectively clear the windscreen.
- Power steering fluid – It’s a good idea to check the power steering fluid level whilst under the bonnet.
- Fuel – you won’t get far without that!
- Replace wiper blades
Rubber wiper blades naturally deteriorate over time. If wipers streak or fail to clear the windscreen thoroughly, replace the blades.
Enjoy the great open roads this summer!