How to Keep Your Vehicle Safe and Protected During the Summer Months

Posted
December 2, 2020

To help ensure you don’t end up on the side of the road this Summer, we’ve put together our top tips to keep your vehicle safe on the road as the extreme weather approaches.

Why is it important to know about how hot weather can impact vehicles?

Summer has officially begun in Australia, and we are in for a wild and extreme Summer season with the end of November already recording the hottest temperatures on record (for November), scorching past 40 degrees Celsius. According to ABC weather forecasts, severe to extreme weather conditions are expected across much of Australia as the heat makes its way around the country.

With international travel restrictions in place and increased domestic travel predicted, it’s important motorists of all types are aware of how they can keep their vehicles and roads safe during the hotter months.

Whilst most vehicles are built to last in extreme conditions, they are vulnerable during the hotter months, and extreme weather conditions do take their toll.

What can you do to keep your vehicle safe this Summer?

The best thing you can do is to be aware and up-to-date on how your vehicle can be impacted, including:

Battery

Batteries can lose power easily, particularly in the Summer months. With faster evaporation of battery fluid and elevated heat levels warping internal battery plates leading to loss of or reduced battery voltage levels. If your battery is older than three years, you should have it tested.

  • Simple ways to tell if your battery is failing include:
  • Dimming of dash lights at starting
  • Slow-cranking when starting the car
  • Corrosion on the battery
  • Listen for clicks (note: a single click could be a starter issue)

Solution: monitor the battery power by being aware of the telltale signs above; alternatively, you could try using a multimeter for voltage checks or take your car to your nearest service centre for a battery load test. Ensure you check your battery fluid level weekly in hot climates.

Cooling System

Overheating is one of the main causes of summer breakdowns. Coolant keeps the engine working at the right temperature, so ensure that your car is adequately filled up with the right levels of fluid.

Solution: top your car up with high-quality coolant. Check for any visible signs of leaks. You can monitor your dashboard temperature gauge while driving, and if it’s in the red, you need to turn off your vehicle or risk damaging the engine. You may also turn the air-conditioning off, to assist to bring the temperature back to a normal level while you get help.

Tyres

It’s not surprising that tyres are highly susceptible to heat. But what really happens to a tyre during the hotter months? The heat makes the air inside expand, causing over inflation, and in extreme circumstances, the air pressure increases in the tyres, which can mean they ride on less of the surface area. When tyres are over-inflated, it causes the centre of the tyre to wear faster than the outer edges.

Low tyre pressure increases rolling resistance to the road, which means your car has to work harder, which leads to greater fuel consumption—having an optimal tyre pressure will improve petrol mileage.

Please don’t wait for the tyre pressure monitoring system to light up on your dashboard either; that may mean it’s too late to save the tyre.

Check the air pressure when the tyres are cool, the hot weather and friction can cause the pressure to rise, giving you a false reading.
If your tyres are looking unevenly worn, you may also need to have a wheel alignment done.

Solution: keep your tyres properly inflated. Check your tyre pressure every fortnight, and monitor your tread depth and wear to check that it’s not uneven or worn out.

Oil

Oil prevents overheating by lubricating moving parts of the vehicle; however, it does easily become contaminated and lose viscosity over time.

Solution: always change your oil during routine maintenance intervals, and if in doubt, consult your nearest servicing centre, whether your vehicle falls under normal or extreme operating conditions.

Protect the interior of your vehicle

The powerful UV rays of the Australian sun can begin to take a toll on the interior of your vehicle. Interior elements can begin to crack; if you have a touch screen, it can get damaged by the sun’s rays.

Solution: try to park your car undercover, if that’s not possible, look for shade or put a sun shield over your windscreen to add a layer of protection and keep your interior of the car cooler.

Conclusion

Anytime that your vehicle is faced with extreme temperatures, it is a risk to the entire vehicle. The best thing you can do is to be aware and up-to-date on your vehicle servicing. Be prepared, have a well-stocked emergency kit in your car in the event of breakdowns, including water, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit.

The heat of Summer may be tough on a vehicle, but with the right maintenance and products, you can prevent problems and enjoy a happy season of driving. For more tips and advice on taking care of your car, any time of year, please get in touch with our Sales team at sales@nextfleet.net.au