Summer maintenance tips

Every year when winter arrives, the sensible driver checks their vehicle to ensure it is ready for driving in challenging conditions over the busy Christmas period.

However, winter isn’t the only time of year drivers should check their vehicle to ensure it can cope with the weather conditions.

We’ve rounded up a series of tips to ensure your car is ready for driving in the hot (stop laughing at the back) UK summer months.

Heat can affect a car, and over the summer many people travel further distances with fully loaded cars on holiday or day trips. To prevent a breakdown on summer trips, there are things you should check before setting out.

Summer driving tips

Tyre pressure – Whether it is summer or winter, checking tyre pressure is essential. Refer to your manual for the optimum tyre pressure for your car. When checking the tyre pressure, always ensure the tyres are cool as warmer tyres tend to have a higher pressure.

A tyre with lower pressure can weaken and become damaged in warmer weather increasing the risk of a breakdown on long journeys. If you’re driving with a full car, always remember to adjust your tyre pressure accordingly.

If the tyre pressure is not correct, it can affect the weight distribution of the car and reduce the control the driver has over the car.

Overheating – It doesn’t take a genius to work out warm weather increases the chances of the engine overheating.

Always ensure the cooling system is flushed and refilled with the correct concentration of engine coolant. If there is not sufficient water and coolant in the cooling system, the car is in danger of overheating in warmer weather, causing damage to the engine.

Battery – Winter weather can cause corrosion to build up in the battery so it is essential to check the battery at the start of the summer to ensure it is good enough condition.

Air conditioning – Cars can get extremely hot and uncomfortable in warm weather. If you’re going on long journeys, especially if you have children with you, it is a good idea to ensure the air conditioning is working.

Although not a car maintenance tip, always take enough water with you on a longer journey.

Regular service checks throughout the year will ensure your car is in a good enough condition to undertake long journeys during the summer months. These should include oil checks twice a year.

Summer is also the time to consider buying a convertible to enjoy the summer son. Below are three of the best convertible cars available for summer 2010.

Fiat 500C

The popular city car is now available as a convertible version. Classic Fiat styling has been mixed with a nippy, compact city car.

Paying homage to the 1957 Fiat 500 with a canvas roof, the Fiat 500C soft top isn’t a full convertible, but the extended canvas sunroof allows for open top driving in a proven top quality city car.

Fiat has also been kind enough to provide the option of a bright pink Fiat 500C.

Renault Megane Coupe Cabriolet.

The Renault Megane CC was released in the UK in spring 2010, ready for the summer months.
The fully automatic, electric roof lowers in just 21 seconds and a forward windscreen and wind deflector to ensure draft-free driving.

It looks good too – with striking coupe looks enhanced by the unique ‘butterfly wing’ shaped doors and generous equipment levels.

Able to comfortably seat four, it is a bigger, more spacious option than the Fiat 500C.

Jaguar XKR

Jaguar claims the XKR is not just a summer car. This may be so, but it brings drop-top driving to another level with classy and ‘cool’ looks.

The Jag is at the top end of the convertible market, and at nearly £60,000 it’s one of the more expensive convertibles available in 2010.

However, the 5.0-litre V8 engine sounds great and delivers plenty of power when needed.

The Jaguar XKR is an iconic name and a quality premium convertible, priced in between offerings from BMW and Mercedes and generously equipped.