Acorn Insurance

Beat The Heat: A Guide To Essential Summer Vehicle Maintenance

Here in the UK, we can wait a long time for summer to arrive. So it comes as no surprise, that when the good weather hits, as a nation, we take to the roads. Summers arrival promises better weather, summer holidays and road trips, but, its worth bearing in mind, the soaring temperatures can negatively affect your vehicle. Some drivers make the mistake of thinking it’s the only the winter months that lead to and increase in breakdowns but, the increase in temperatures during the summer months can also place extra strain on your vehicle.

So, before you head off on your next adventure, whether a road trip around the UK or further afield (Eurostar, anyone?), make sure your car is well-maintained.

With the proper care, you can ensure your vehicle remains reliable, no matter how high the temperatures climb. This guide delves into the essential summer vehicle maintenance tips to keep your car running smoothly and prevent unexpected stops as you navigate the roads this summer.

How summer heat affects your vehicle

The heat can lead to various vehicle problems during the summer, from tyre blowouts to battery failures. The increased temperatures can cause engine fluids to evaporate more quickly, leading to lower levels and potential engine damage. Additionally, the strain on your cooling system is more significant, which can increase the risk of overheating.

Moreover, the summer months typically see an increase in the volume of traffic on the roads, which can result in stop-start driving. This driving pattern can increase the wear and tear on vehicles particularly components such as brakes and clutches.

Check fuel levels

While this seems like a no brainer, you would be surprised to discover just how many people breakdown as a result of running out of fuel. In 2022, 10500 people called the AA as a result of running out of fuel and not only is it rule 97 in the highway code, you can also be fined for running out of fuel.

Please read below and discover our tips to prevent you from getting hot under the collar this summer!

Preventing overheating

One of the most critical aspects of summer car maintenance is ensuring your cooling system is functioning correctly. A well-maintained cooling system circulates coolant to reduce engine heat, but if there is a leak or the coolant is low, your engine could overheat, leading to severe damage. Regular checks of your coolant levels and the condition of your hoses and radiator are vital.

Tyre maintenance

The summer heat can also affect your tyres. Hot temperatures can cause the air inside tyres to expand, leading to over inflation, which increases the risk of a blowout. Checking your tyre pressure regularly and adjusting it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations is essential, especially if you carry extra weight — think children and camping gear! You can use this handy tyre pressure guide by Kwikfit

Battery care

Heat can shorten a car battery’s life by causing the battery fluid to evaporate, leading to corrosion on terminals and connections. Clean any corrosive build-up from the battery terminals and secure the clamps.

Here is our quick-fire checklist to keep your car in tip-top condition this summer!

Not sure on which battery you need for your car? Simply type in your car registration and find out.

Essential summer vehicle maintenance checklist

To keep your car in top condition during the summer months, follow these essential maintenance tips:

1. Check Your Fluids: Ensure your engine oil, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid are at the appropriate levels. Need more help with essential car fluids?

2. Inspect Belts and Hoses: Look for signs of wear and tear on belts and hoses.

3. Test Your Air Conditioning: A functioning A/C is crucial for summer driving. If it’s not cooling effectively, have it inspected by a professional.

4. Replace Wiper Blades: Summer storms can arrive unexpectedly, and good visibility is crucial. Replace any worn wiper blades.

5. Prepare for Emergencies: Keep an emergency kit in your car with water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, and tools.

ACORN: A comprehensive pre-journey car check list

A – Air and Tyres

  • Air Pressure: Ensure all tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.
  • Tread Depth: Check that the tyre tread is at least 3mm deep.
  • Spare Tire: Verify that the spare tyre is in good condition and properly inflated.

C – Coolant and Fluids

  • Coolant Level: Ensure the coolant is between the minimum and maximum marks.
  • Engine Oil: Check the oil level and top up if necessary.
  • Brake Fluid: Confirm the brake fluid is at the proper level.
  • Washer Fluid: Fill the windshield washer fluid.

O – Operational Components

  • Lights: Check all lights (headlights, tail lights, indicators) are functioning.
  • Wipers: Ensure the wiper blades are in good condition and replace if needed.
  • Horn: Test the horn to ensure it works properly.

R – Readiness and Safety

  • Emergency Kit: Have an emergency kit including first aid, high-visibility vest, warning triangle, and basic tools.
  • Battery: Check that the battery is charged and terminals are clean.
  • Locks and Windows: Ensure all locks and windows operate correctly.

N – Navigation and Extras

  • Sat-Nav/Maps: Ensure your navigation system is updated and you have maps as a backup.
  • Mobile Charger: Have a car charger for your phone.
  • Refreshments: Carry water and snacks, especially for long trips.

Summer demands extra attention to vehicle maintenance to ensure safety and reliability. Following these tips, you can protect your vehicle from the heat and enjoy your summer travels without worrying about breakdowns, while keeping you and your family safe.

Get a HOT quote today!

We take time to understand our car insurance needs & find you the most suitable coverage. So why not get a hassle-free quote for specialist car insurance now & enjoy instant UK car cover that will not break the bank.

Unlike traditional insurance companies, we may be able to help you if have been refused insurance by other providers.

Get an Online Car Insurance Quote Today OR call our UK car insurance team now! Discuss your needs with us, and we will help you find a policy that works for you.