Summer is Coming - Heres How to Get Your Car Ready
Posted by: Dan on 29/10/2015
Summer is coming, and you need get your car ready. This is a clear and essential message for all Australian motorists. To a few this may be a given, to some this may be apparent - yet indeed, to most Australians, the need to get their car ready as the seasons change is often overlooked.
Undoubtedly, this is owed to a number of factors. Residents of the Great Southern Land certainly understand the danger a good winter snow can have on their cars. While overall a rare thing - for you’re truly unlikely to see Melbourne and Sydney’s skyscrapers snow-capped anytime soon - icy roads and frosty conditions automatically leave Australians appreciative of the need to ensure their tyres stay warm and their engine remains cool.
By contrast, the need to ensure your car stays safe and well maintained in the summer is oftentimes overlooked. While it's true Aussies are famed for a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude to the many daily challenges of life, when it comes to your car’s safety, such an attitude can be truly problematic and perilous.
Accordingly, just like Ford’s first Australian car - the Model T - needed significant modification to ensure the then-factory kit could be assembled to withstand Australian conditions of harsh heat and dust, so too is it true that even in 2015, your auto needs be modified to withstand the upcoming summer season.
Summer Auto Tyre Checks
As it concerns your car’s tyres, there are a number of checks and measures it’s wise to take ahead of summer’s start. First up, regular rotation of your tyres every 8,000 kms (5,000 miles) is crucial to their ongoing safety and correct operation.
Second, with the upcoming warm weather set to bring a greater strain to your tyres composition - as opposed to winter, where the form of the tyre expands less in the colder climate - checking for nicks, scratches and cuts along your wheels is particularly important.
Air pressure is also a factor to consider as the sunny days start to arrive more and more. While in the winter, the air in your car tyres may drop slightly (due to the cooler air within your tyre walls), the opposite can occur in the summer. This means it’s a good idea to take a reading of your tyre’s ideal pressure, and then depressurise a little to ensure room for expansion in the heat of the tyres due to the warmer air inside is allowed for.
With your tyres sorted, let’s now look beyond to everything else that needs to be attended to across your auto in time for summer…
Checking Your Car’s Systems
With the hotter temperatures of summer comes the challenge of greater strain on your engine. This means that ensuring all is up-to-scratch under the hood becomes especially important to mitigate the risk of engine trouble - or even engine failure.
Checking the oil is a solid place to start when it comes to preventative care, with every 5,000 kilometres (3,100 miles) being a good time to change up. Further, while there’s no hard and fast rule about distance below this figure, it’s also a good idea to put in a fresh batch of oil if you’re heading out on a long distance road trip. It may not be urgent to make an oil change in this situation, but it’s still a wise move no less.
While you’re attending to the oil, it’s also wise to give the coolant a fresh pour. While your antifreeze did its job throughout winter, the summer the risk of overheating underneath your front bonnet means a fresh injection of liquid here will lower the chance you’ll find yourself sitting on the nature strip one day waiting for the RACV due to your car’s overheating engine.
Auto Components Check
Moving onto components now, checking your car’s brakes and power steering is also worthwhile. With the lesser use of your car’s machinery and parts during the winter months (and, generally speaking, lesser strain due to the cooler temperatures), the summer weather can be punishing on parts that have been in disuse or are suffering from general wear and tear.
Yet, of all your auto’s parts, it is your car battery that’s perhaps most crucial to give a thorough checkover before turning the key in ignition. While the cold weather of winter puts a strain on your battery - and accounts for the reason so many folks are seen unable to start their car and begin their morning commute - summer brings about the severe risk that your battery will not handle the heat well. Ensuring your battery is well maintained - and swapped out for a new one if it shows sign of damage or disrepair - is among the core maintenance tasks you need do to ensure you car will be ready to handle the hot roads well.
Last, with your car just about ‘summer proof’ by now: you shouldn’t forget to de-winterise it.
While few would forget to remove any snow chains (or roof racks from that ski trip to Mount Hotham), things like your brake fluid and transmission should all get a fresh check before the official start of summer - especially if you haven’t used your car as much during the cooler months of the year.
In sum, while just like winter, the summer months pose some unique challenges to your car that will indeed strain it at times - so there’s no absolute nor uniform guarantee you can prevent issues arising - by following the tips listed above, you’ll give your car the best start to the summer season, and ensure you spend far more time driving your car rather than fixing it.
What other maintenance tasks do you save for the start of summer? Share your auto maintenance habits by leaving a comment below:
Image: Wikimedia Commons