Top 10 tips for driving in hot weather

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Sep 7, 2023

Motorway in the summer - CarGurus

In hot weather conditions, it’s more important than ever for drivers to carry out basic preparation and checks to reduce the risk of mechanical breakdowns, and maximise passenger comfort.

CarGurus – a leading online automotive marketplace to shop, buy, and sell used vehicles – has compiled a list of essential advice for motorists driving in the summer heat.

“Preparation is essential as hot weather puts more strain on vehicles and their occupants,” said Chris Knapman, Editorial Director at CarGurus.

“Breaking down during a heatwave can be dangerous, particularly for more vulnerable road users such as small children and pets.

“The chances of breaking down in hot weather is also higher as certain issues such the engine overheating are more likely to occur.”

Top tips for hot weather driving

  1. Check Coolant Level

Locate the header or expansion tank, and if the coolant level is below the ‘Min’ marker, either ask a garage to top it up or replenish it yourself with the correct coolant for your vehicle. Only remove the cap when the engine is cool. 

  1. Check Oil Level

Remove the dipstick, wipe with a cloth and replace it. Remove it again and look for oil between the ‘Min’ and ‘Max’ markers. If low, add the recommended oil gradually and recheck, taking care not to overfill.

  1. Wiper & Screen Wash Check

Top-up the windscreen washer fluid reservoir with correctly mixed washer fluid, and replace worn wipers if needed. 

  1. Service Air Conditioning

If losing effectiveness, get the air conditioning serviced every two-three years by a specialist. Regular use keeps it in prime condition.

  1. Check Tyres

Check tyre pressures regularly, check the tread is above the legal limit (1.6mm) and check for any cuts, bulges or cracking. Check the spare wheel and tyre as well.

  1. Pets’ Safety

Don’t leave pets in an unattended vehicle on hot days. Call the emergency services if you see a pet in distress.

  1. Use Sun Shades

Protect the car’s interior from sunlight with sun shades, especially over the steering wheel, gear lever, and seats. Park in the shade where possible. 

  1. Take Care of Yourself

Pack essentials like water, sunglasses, phone charger, and necessary medication. Plan breaks on long journeys and monitor the engine temperature gauge in traffic jams.

  1. Take Caution in Rain

After dry spells, roads become slippery with the first rainfall. Reduce speed and increase braking distance.

  1. Consider EV range

In hot weather, cooling an electric vehicle’s cabin will deplete its range more quickly. Pre-cool the cabin while the car is plugged in to minimise range loss.

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