Car warning lightsRoad Trips

A pretty cool guide to your car and the heat

Published: 08/18/2021

The recent heatwave in Ireland and the promise of hotter weather yet to come is forcing us to make changes to our regular behavior. We Irish are a cool lot, generally speaking. Fur us, there are many aspects of life that we don’t need to think about while living in a temperate climate. But the world is hotting up. Extremely hot weather is forcing us to change some of our cooler climate ways. Now we must keep the butter in the fridge to avoid an oily puddle on the kitchen table, and we  can no longer leave the goldfish bowl on a sunny windowsill, to avoid something worse. And we also need to make changes to how we treat our cars and how we drive in high temperatures.

The car

Coolant is the magic liquid that protects your engine from extremes in heat and cold. Check the level of the coolant as the summer weather kicks in. Low coolant means a refill or asking your mechanic to check for a potential leak. Top her up and keep an eye on it.

Did you know that your tyre pressure will change in hotter weather? With normal driving, the tyre pressure changes, and the air inside expands from the friction of the road. But when high temperatures come into play, the heat may cause over inflation, which affects your grip, braking and steering. Allow good breaking time while summer motoring and if you feel worried about the tyre pressure, check it at a garage and against the car manufacturers recommendation or pop into your friendly mechanic for a check. It is probably not a good idea to drive on winter tyres during the hot summer season. 

Check your cars fluid levels. Screen-wash, water, coolant. During hotter weather the oil for your engine becomes slightly thinner. Regular servicing will give you reassurance, knowing that the oil has been changed regularly and is working well to keep your engine lubricated. It’s a good idea to check the oil levels before a long journey so that you dont get unexpected engine warning lights.

Replace your windshield wiper blades and screen wash fluids. It does seem like a no-brainer piece of advice. The bright sun can be blinding on a dirty windshield.

The most likely time of year for a car breakdown is in the Summer, with August being the most popular month. Rising temperatures may lead to water leaks or a rise in issues around the cooling system causing strain and failure. Car batteries can also fail in the increased heat of the summer months, so make sure you replace yours if it's getting towards the end of its life. If you are heading on a long summer staycation journey, it might be an idea to get the car serviced beforehand.

The driving  

Don’t get all hot and bothered. Staying cool is vital for both you and your passengers. Give yourself the best chance of a relaxing drive by setting off in a cool car. Allowing a few extra minutes to open doors and windows to circulate air and to run the air-con to assist in cooling the car down. Some of the latest cars may even allows you to pre-set your perfect temperature before setting foot inside.  

For cars without stop-start technology, it is a good idea to turn off your engine during traffic. Contrary to popular belief, restarting your engine will not burn more fuel than if you had you sat with your engine in ‘idle’ for more than 10 seconds.

Keep water in the car. Bring enough for you and your passengers. Watch for signs of dehydration such as headaches and dizziness. If needs be pull over for a cold drink or an ice cream and a sit in the shade. Tiredness from the heat can affect your ability to drive safely.

Avoid sun glare by keeping the windscreens clean. Change the wiper blades if needs be and wear sunglasses, not just because you want to look awesomely cool but because you want to look awesomely accident free. Stay safe and reduce the suns glare with visors, windscreen water and by parking in the shade. Use the air conditioning but be aware that if driving an EV, you will use more battery power and should plan for the next ‘plug in’.

In searingly hot weather, the road surface can become soft, making it difficult for tyres to maintain grip the soft surface as well as they can a firm dry one. Take care when cornering and braking. Remember too that there is more unexpected traffic on the roads in the hot weather. From cyclists to camper vans and a vast number of other motorists and tourists staycationing in this beautiful country. And there is no place more beautiful when the sun shines and the temperature rises.  Enjoy the rest of your summer with safe motoring from us all at Peter Hanley Motors.

Peter Hanley Motors is a registered
member of The Society of the Irish
Motor Industry

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