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Beat the heat

Summer might be the harshest season of all for your car. Engines already produce a lot of heat; add to that 30-degree days and stop-and-go traffic and car problems can arise. Have you kept up with routine maintenance?

Getting your vehicle serviced on a regular basis is a good start. Remember, extreme heat puts added strain on batteries, the cooling system, alternators, starter and fan motors. In addition, inadequate cooling for many parts causes components to work harder and can result in failure.

First, ensure fluid levels are topped up for both the battery and radiator and then read on for our guide to protecting your car and its parts in the heat. ?Follow these top tips this summer:

  • Get your air con checked out and cleaned. During those long, hot commutes the A/C works overtime, so taking the time to make sure everything is in great shape will undoubtedly help keep you cool. If your vehicle’s AC is not maintaining the temperature like it used to it could mean that the refrigerant level is low. Remember, it’s always best to leave any sort of check or maintenance to a qualified professional.
  • Stay cool by replacing your engine’s coolant, which is cheap insurance against extreme temperatures. Fresh coolant will put less stress on your vehicle’s hardware and save you serious money in the long run. A couple of warning signs to look out for are; any loss of water and check the coolant liquid level, if it’s low or dirty this could result in your car overheating. If your cooling system has not been serviced in the last two years, get it checked by a mechanic. In the meantime check there aren’t any blockages such as plastic bags or paper picked up off the road blocking the radiator or front grill area.
  • Most fluids are designed to cool down that particular vehicle component and prevent it from overheating. Ask a mechanic to check that the following fluids are filled to the right levels: motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid, radiator and battery. Take care! Car fluid levels should only be checked when the car is cool as it’s extremely unsafe to check fluid levels when the car is hot.
  • Take care and mind the glare with quality sunglasses that have UV protection. Loose clothing preferably breathable cotton will also help you to keep your cool.
  • An inexpensive silver reflective sun shield shades your windscreen, keeping some heat out and your steering wheel cool.
  • Invest in cloth covers for leather upholstery to protect your car’s interior from the sun and heat and make leather seating more comfortable to sit on. (Top tip: a good leather conditioner prevents cracks and dry spots too.)

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