There’s plenty to be said about winter preparation for cars and other vehicles, but not as much attention is paid to getting your car ready for summer.
By spring, winter conditions will already have taken a toll on your vehicle – so it’s good to check and repair or replace worn parts and components.
There are also some steps you can take to prepare a vehicle for South Africa’s hot, dry summer conditions.
Check your brakes
Brakes can take a lot of wear and tear through the winter months, due to the increase in traffic and because of the drop in temperature.
Brake pads can also suffer from dramatic temperature fluctuations that come with driving on cold, wet roads.
Spring is a good time for a check, especially if the brakes are making an unusual noise; your car pulls to one side when you brake or the brake pedal seems either unusually “spongy” or hard to press down. Vibrations that happen only when you apply the brakes are also a sign of bad brakes.
Consider summer tyres
If you live in an area where the temperature drops below 7° Celsius, you might need different tyres for the summer and winter months.
Summer tyres have a softer rubber compound and larger tread blocks, which help with handling on dry roads.
Even if you don’t change tyres, keep an eye on your tyre pressure. Tyres are much more prone to bursting in hot conditions, so it’s doubly important not to over-inflate them.
Note that the tyre pressure recommended in your vehicle’s owner’s manual is meant for when the tyres are cold. So it’s best to check tyre pressure outside the hottest times of day, and before you set out on long drives.
Change your wiper blades
Naturally, you use your wiper blades a lot more in winter, resulting in wear and tear. Before summer rains hit, it’s a good idea to make sure that your wipers are still working properly.
Direct sun can also cause your wiper blades to perish over time, so keep an eye on them throughout summer as well.
Invest in sunshades
The summer sun can be harsh on the occupants of a car. It can also damage your dashboard and seats.
Invest in a reflective windscreen shield and some sunshades for your side windows. As well as protecting the dash and seats, you’ll help keep the temperature inside the car down.
Ensure your air con is working well
If your car has air conditioning, make sure it’s working optimally before the really hot weather sets in.
If the air coming out of the vents doesn’t seem cold enough or has an odd smell, get a technician to check the system. It may need to be serviced and re-gassed.
Have your car washed and waxed
Direct summer sun can damage the paintwork on your car. A good coat of wax can help prevent damage. Have your car thoroughly washed and waxed, especially if you often leaving it in the sun.
Stock your car with some summer essentials
For emergencies, it’s sensible to keep bottled water, a first aid kit and a cap in your car. Sunscreen and a towel are also good ideas.
These items can all help if you’re stuck somewhere on a hot day – and they make it easier to jump in the car and head for a beach or river on a weekend!
Of course, a spare tyre, jumper cables and basic tools are also a must.
Affordable parts and spares for summer
Masterparts stocks a comprehensive range of affordable spares and parts for most vehicle models and makes on South African roads. Contact us if there’s a part you need – from brakes and wipers to engine components – and we’ll be happy to help.