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How to Protect your Vehicle from the Summer Heat

Summer brings about all sorts of problems for motorists and their cars. Not only do drivers overheat in their cars in summer, but their vehicles can suffer too.

There are many ways to protect your car during the heat of the summer and protect yourself also. One tip is to buy a sun screen for the front window of your vehicle. A sun screen can reduce temperatures by ten to twenty degrees and make the car much cooler and more comfortable for the driver. Another advantage of a sun screen is it will protect the dashboard (fascia) which is made of plastic. Fascias can melt and warp if the sun is strong enough, even in generally cooler climates.

Do not polish the car in the heat of the sun but do polish your car more frequently during the summer months. Polishing will protect the paintwork which takes a battering during the sun and can oxidise, losing it sheen and lustre. If you live in a very warm climate pay special attention to external plastics. A modern car has a lot of plastic in an effort by manufacturers to keep the weight of the vehicle down. Plastics denature very quickly in very sunny climates. Polishing door mirrors, bumpers and plastic trim will help prevent the plastic drying out and cracking.

That’s the bodywork sorted, but don’t forget to look under the hood. In the summer you’ll need to check the air-conditioning. If it isn’t functioning properly, the gas will need to be recharged. Also don’t forget to check your coolant levels frequently. If necessary top up the cooling system with antifreeze, not water, even if it never freezes where you live. Anti freeze will help prevent your cooling system from silting up with rust particles.

Whilst under the hood, visually check fan belts and if there is any fraying get them changed. Lastly, rubber too can perish and denature in very hot weather so you need to examine your cooling system hoses. If there is any cracking or perishing you’ll need to have them replaced as soon as possible. If you have a screwdriver handy it may be prudent to check all hose connections and clips to ensure they are not coming loose.

Lastly, check your engine oil. During hot weather, engine oil becomes much thinner and some oil can be lost through minor leaking. Top up regularly to help keep the viscosity at the right level. If you do heavy mileage change the oil more frequently. This is very important if your car is diesel.   

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