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How can warm weather affect my car?

How can warm weather affect my car?

By Swansway Motor Group 16-07-2019

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Though the stunning sunshine and baking heat is something we all love, it can have a detrimental effect on your car if you’re not careful. We’ve picked out the ways the sun can alter your car, and how you can combat them...

At last, the warm weather is here. Time to put away the parkas, jumpers and Christmas decorations (we know some of you still have those fairy lights up) and crack out the shorts, ice cream and aftersun.

Though the stunning sunshine and baking heat is something we all love, it can have a detrimental effect on your car if you’re not careful. We’ve picked out the ways the sun can alter your car, and how you can combat them...


High cabin temperatures

Leaving your car sat in the baking heat is an instant recipe for an uncomfortable drive next time you hop in. Not only will the upholstery get hot, but most surfaces you touch — particularly metals — could be scorching too.

towel over the wheel

Though we wouldn’t advise leaving a car window open all day, we would suggest finding ways to shield the cabin from the heat. You can invest in a specially-designed heat shield to cover the windscreen, or go a bit DIY and drape some towels over the seats, steering wheels and gear stick. Alternatively, keep your car in the shade if possible.


Affect battery health

When it comes to driving in the winter, many experts will tell you to check your battery is in full working order. While this is great advice, it’s also often overlooked when preparing a car for summer.

under the bonnet - battery

An increase in temperatures can alter the chemicals in the battery and cause it to be less effective. On top of that, it’s under extra stress from working the air conditioning harder, opening and closing windows, the sunroof and, if you’re fortunate enough to have a convertible, hardtop folding roofs.

Check its voltage with a multimeter, with 12.6 volts often seen as a minimum reading for a healthy battery. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, seek the help of an expert. If your source of power is in poor shape, it’s worth swapping out before the baking heat arrives.


Increase overheating risk

under the bonnet, oil top up

Higher temperatures naturally mean the fluids in your car will operate at a higher temperature, increasing the risk of an engine overheating. Though this shouldn’t be a problem on well-maintained modern cars in the UK, older vehicles (we’re looking at you, classic British sports cars) are more prone to this. Check your levels of fluids are all good, and that your car has been serviced in good time too.


Alter tyre performance

tyre

Rubber is prone to attracting heat, so your tyres are likely to feel the effects of a sunny day. In extreme conditions, it’s possible tyres can bulge or crack in the baking sun — though it’s unlikely the UK will hit temperatures for that to be a widespread concern. We’d advise checking tyre pressures and to keep them well-kept at manufacturer guidelines.


Overwork air con

overworked air con

As touched upon under the batteries section, your air conditioning system is likely to be overworked in the summer months. This means more strain on the unit as a whole causing wear, resulting in a less-effective cooling solution. Many garages offer an air con checking service, where they can regas the system if necessary to bring it back to factory-fresh operating levels.

 

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