Driving in the heat - CarTakeBack’s Top Ten Tips

Posted on Friday 30 August 2019 by CarTakeBack

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The sun is here at last! But unless you are on a well-planned scenic trip in your convertible (you jammy thing), being in the car isn’t great and your car doesn’t like it much either!

As much as we look forward to helping your car through its final days, to save the heat being its final straw and coming to us prematurely (and to make sure you are safe and comfortable of course) here’s CarTakeBack’s Top Ten Tips for summer car use…

Woman driving a vintage car in summer.

FIRST – Keep YOUR cool!

A hot car means a hot driver (and we’re not complimenting you on your sunglasses!). To stay safe you need to keep cool and avoid dehydration and drowsiness.

1. Air flow

Usually we’d remind you that using your air conditioning eats fuel, but this is one of the few times in the year you should be switching it on! (Don’t forget to keep the sunroof closed.) If you don’t have air conditioning open all the windows and get the air flowing through your car.

2. Take water

Take a bottle of water with you even on short trips. The CarTakeBack team recommend an ice pack and some extra bottles of water for long journeys. Obviously you should always have an emergency kit and a charged mobile phone with you. Our summer additions include a bottle of sunscreen (not the one that’s been sliding around your boot for two years!) and even a sunhat for a possible breakdown without shade.

3. Get a sunshade

If the good weather hangs around, you could invest in a sunshade for your windscreen. These reflect the sunlight when you are parked and save your air conditioning from having to work as hard to cool the car when you set off. (And your bottom from sticking to your seat or your hands being burnt on your steering wheel!)

4. Keep children & pets safe!

We’d hope this one goes without saying, but never leave children or pets in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Temperatures can become dangerously high very quickly. Enough said.

dog in car

NEXT – Taking care of your car…

5. Check your aircon

We kicked these tips off advising you to use your air conditioning to keep cool and alert… but when was the last time you used it/checked it?! Make sure it actually blows cold air to a noticeable strength… if it’s not emitting cold air or it seems weak, the refrigerant might be low. It may just need topping up (follow proper advice if you plan to DIY - you might find our blog on air con maintenance useful! Or it may be time for an A/C service (if funds are low you can often get offers on these services on sites like Groupon).

6. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge

A common breakdown problem in summer is an overheated engine, particularly from long distance driving or slow moving queues. Keep an eye on your temperature gauge and don’t ignore it! Driving while your engine is overheated can cause long term damage. If the gauge hits ‘red’ or a warning light comes on, pull over as soon as you can safely do so and be patient waiting for it to cool – a sudden change in temperature can cause even more costly damage!

7. Check your coolant levels

It’s unlikely your engine coolant will need replenishing between services, but it’s worth checking – you will be able to see the min and max marks on the tank under the bonnet. If it’s low the usual advice is to add a 50/50 mix of coolant and water but obviously read the instructions and never use straight water in the radiator (it risks corrosion).

WARNING: If your radiator is hot never open the cap to check the coolant level as you could be injured! Wait until the engine has cooled first. (Checking before you head out easily avoids this safety hazard!)

8. Check your oil

Keeping your oil at the right level and replacing it when necessary will ensure optimum lubrication and help keep your engine cool! If you are being really thorough, a heavier viscosity oil can help in hot weather and synthetic motor oils are even more effective… But here in the UK it’s unlikely you’ll need to worry about changing oils, just keeping them topped up and clean will do the job.

9. Top up your window washer fluid

Although our windscreen wipers are invariably used for rain, most drivers have experienced the awful smeary dry windscreen that forces you to peer through streaks! A clean windscreen and plenty of washer fluid is essential for clear vision and your safety during hot temperatures… Sun exposure can also dry out the rubber on your wipers, so make sure any old wipers have been checked/replaced.

10. Check your tyre pressure

Hot, tired tyres! Under or over inflated tyres are no good for your car, but an under-inflated tyre increases the build up of heat and risks a blow-out, so it’s even more of a risk in summer. Check tyres when they are cool to make sure they are inflated to the right level and don’t forget to look out for wear and damage.

checking tyre pressure

If this season ends up being too much for your old wheels, or you decide it’s finally time to buy that convertible (!) then don’t forget CarTakeBack can give you an instant quote for your car, pick it up for free and help with the paperwork.

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