The summer is here, and so are its preparations. Thankfully, the lockdown is eased, and people can now hit the road and enjoy the lovely weather. Either you are preparing for a local staycation in England or a journey to Europe, you must perform basic car maintenance to stay safe on the road. If buying a used car to accompany you is a part of your summer road trip plans, make sure you perform a comprehensive car check at Car Analytics first.
It will guarantee you are purchasing a ride with genuine car mileage and original logbook. Furthermore, you will get to know its MOT history with advisory and failure notices, its performance data, running cost, and other things that will help you make an informed buying decision.
Here are our highly recommended auto-check tips to make your car ready for a long trip this season.
Car Checklist Before Hitting the Road in Summer
Examine Your Air Conditioning System for a Comfortable Commute
Traveling across Europe in summer without having a working air conditioning system could be disastrous. Even in the UK, the temperature could reach higher 30s (as happened in Heathrow on 31st July). Spain, Athens and other places also experience hot weather in summer. The intensive heat would bring down your energy level, affecting the working abilities. Hence, the first thing you need to check is car air conditioning.
If the cooling is not appropriate, it could be due to the low refrigerant level. As it is a complicated system, you would need to visit a car AC specialist to fix it for you.
Change the Engine Oil Along with Oil Filter and Add New Coolant
Engine oil helps run your engine smoothly. One of its tasks is to prevent the friction between engine parts and keep the overall system cool. You may require to change the engine oil and oil filter more often in hot weather as compared to any season of the year. Specialists would suggest you change the oil and its filter at different intervals ranging from 5,000 km to 12,000 km (about 3,000 miles to 7,500 miles).
It’s quite simple to check the oil level by yourself. Just start the car and cover some distance. Pullover to a levelled surface and turn the engine off. Open the bonnet, locate the oil dipstick, and pull it out. Make sure the oil is lighter in colour and does not contain dirt. Else, you certainly need replacement.
The average temperature level under the hood is around 93 degrees Celsius. If the temperature rises beyond this level, the engine components start melting or get damaged. To prevent this from happening, the radiator uses a chemical coolant called anti-freeze that aims to keep it all under control. Check your coolant level to ensure it is enough to sustain the overall temperature under the bonnet. As the coolant falls below the prescribed level, you must flush your radiator and add new coolant. Normally, you should do it once in at least two years. However, you should check your owner manual for guidance.
Car Check- Tyres, Air Pressure, Alignment and Weariness
Tyres are responsible for carrying the full load of you, your family, and the vehicle itself. Therefore, you need to inspect tyres regularly and take extra care of them. The first thing to examine in this regard is air pressure. An underinflated or overinflated tyre is not only dangerous to drive, but also can affect the performance of your vehicle. It is better to stop by the service centre for an aircheck. According to experts, the tyre pressure changes up to 2PSI for every 10o increase in the outside temperature.
Other than the appropriate air pressure, the tyres also need to be correctly aligned. Extreme temperature and carelessness can make the tyres misaligned, affecting the overall balance of your car. Also, do check tyre’s outer condition for their weariness. Please note the tyres have their lifespan and must be replaced after that.
Inspect the Hoses, Belts and Air Filter for Damages and Filthiness
Performance and safety of any car, even if it’s a BMW or an Aston Martin, are ensured by a cool engine. We neglect specific components most of the time, but they are integral to keep the engine cool. These include hoses that carry the coolant from the radiator to the engine block and back to the radiator. Make sure such tubes are not cracked or leaked, and they are nicely connected to the radiator. Belts, on the other hand, also play a vital role in controlling the temperature under the hood, as they are responsible for running the fans. A broken belt can stop the fan or adversely affect its efficiency. A slick and smooth belt cannot grip up the fan, so you should replace it with a new one.
The air filter aims to sustain the engine performance by keeping the dust away. It clogs over time and is inexpensively replaceable. Although a typical interval to change an air filter is 20,000 km (12,000 miles), you may have to return it often if you love going off-road. Check the filter yourself, and if you find it dirtier than it should be, just return it.
Car Check- Make Sure the Battery Withstand Through the Summer
Batteries are usually destructible in hot weather, as the heat overcharges them by speeding up the chemical reaction within. Hotness can also evaporate the fluid inside the cell, reducing its lifespan. However, you can take action to sustain the battery by keeping it clean. All you have to do is remove the cables, clean the terminals, and secure all the connections. You may also consult with a technician at any service station. If required, do not hesitate to replace the battery with a new one. Moreover, consult with the professionals to guide you in buying the right kind of battery for your car.
Park Under a Shade or Prevent the Interior from Heat
Hot weather affects not only the mechanical components of a car but also the interior. If you notice plastic elements within the driver’s cabin melting or changing shape, it is most likely due to the extreme sunlight. The heat entering the cockpit is trapped within and makes the interior hot.
You can prevent it by parking your car indoors or at least under a shade. If you can’t find such parking conditions, use electrostatic sheets and rolling tint for windshields. Such products keep the heat out as much as possible and prevent others from sneaking into your car, as well.
Here is our car checklist for a trouble-free summer road trip. Remember, you should perform these car check processes in routine to sustain its performance as well as fuel efficiency. However, if you are thinking to purchase a mechanically and structurally fit car, you can use our buy a car service along with our full car check report to find out its hidden history. Do not worry; our vehicle data check report is the cheapest in the whole of the UK – just £8.95, and we are rated very high (4.8 out of 5) on Reviews.co.uk.
Have a look at our car check sample report and find out what else you would be able to know about the car you have got your eyes on.