Everyone knows that the cold winter months can take their toll on your vehicle, but what most people don’t know is that the hot summer months can be just as destructive on your car if you don’t take the right precautions.
Its easy to put off car maintenance with a whole load of excuses but this can prevent minor issues from developing into major car problems leading to a higher repair cost in the long run.
Here we will run through the most common breakdown issues as well as the ways you can reduce the chance of them affecting you.
1. Overheating Engine
Temperatures naturally rise in the summer and it’s not just you that feels this. Cars can get extremely hot and is one of the biggest reasons for vehicle breakdown throughout the summer months.
Although vehicles have a coolant system that actively cools down the engine, the hot weather means that it has to work even harder which can show any weaknesses that the system has. For example if you have a slight weak spot in a deteriorating seal, this can quickly turn into a disastrous leak.
A common mistake is only occasionally top up the coolant, just because there isn’t a leak yet doesn’t mean that there isn’t a leak.
To avoid overheating you should check the cars coolant level regularly, if you are new to this then refer to the vehicle handbook which will show you where the reservoir is located. If you’re still having trouble then take it to your local garage to be checked.
The summer is when most people take their longest car trip all year, and this trip is usually when all lurking issues are highlighted that have been hidden all along, due to the intensive nature of a long distance car journey.
Tyre blowouts are very common but this can often be avoid in preparation by checking the tyres before setting off. If you’re also travelling with a caravan or trailer then their tyres shouldn’t be ignored either.
High temperatures don’t usually cause fresh tyre failure but usally aggravate any exisiting tyre damage which is made worse by under inflation. Under inflation increased the level of friction when it comes into contact with the road which generates more heat and the weak spots don’t stand a chance.
If your tyres have any cracks in its rubber or low pressure then it could signal that the tyre has a puncture or needs replacing. The best way to prevent your tyres from failing is to check the pressure before any long journey and compare the value to whats recommended in the vehicle handbook.
3. Worn Down Clutch
The clutch in your vehicle won’t last forever and a key sign of it wearing down is the burning smell. Hot weather condition contribute to the clutch wearing down quickly, especially when combined with the stop start nature of slow traffic.
Any clutch issues will quickly be highlighted if you decide to tow a caravan or trailer as this added strain. Combine this will hilly terrain and you will begin to feel your clutch deteriorating.
To avoid the clutch causing your vehicle to suddenly break down you should look out for the key signs. If your vehicle shudders as you try to pull away and lift the clutch then you know that it’s starting to wear down, and it’s time to take it to your local garage.
4. Battery Problems
Vehicle batteries can often become faulty if it comes under an increase in stop-start activity which is common in both traffic and journeys that don’t involve much long freeways.
For longer journeys, the vehicle battery is put under more strain due to the amount of connect devices such as sat navs, phones, tablets all draining power. One key symptom of a battery running low is if its slow to start or if the lights become dimmer and take longer to turn on.
If you already know that your battery is aging then you should think about replacing it before a long summer car journey. Its recommended that you replace a car battery every three years because the most common problems are witnessed between years four and five.
If you can’t change your battery now, then consider purchasing a car battery charger to make sure it’s in the best condition it can be.
The Alternator is closely connected to the battery, and any issues you have with the battery are usually caused by increased demand on the alternator. This is usually caused by having many power draining devices connected and mix this with the hot summer months brings even more problems.
The main sign of the alternator beginning to fail is that the cars red warning lick will illuminate on your vehicle dashboard. Red means danger so you should pull over the vehicle as soon as you can to investigate.
6. Low Oil Pressure
As you know, in hotter weather the engine oil has to work to circulate through the internal system. As the temperature gets higher, the oil gets hotter and becomes less viscous and more of a watery texture.
Engine oil usually has a thicker texture which allows it to stick to the moving parts and provide lubrication. If the oil is to watery then it can’t lubricate the components effectively which increases the wear on the heavy duty parts within the engine eventually leading to failure.
A common driver complaint is that cars are so complicated that if you open the hood its difficult to tell what each component does and what you need to check.
Many of these issues can be prevented by taking your vehicle for regular services at your local garage which will allow you to quickly allow a professional to take action.
Another important way to stop these issues from completely leaving you stranded is by purchasing break down cover so if your car does fail then you have road side assistance to come and help and get you back on the road without a huge delay.