Summer Car Maintenance Checklist

By working your way through a summer car maintenance checklist, your car will be prepared for the season’s driving conditions, and keep running as efficiently as possible.

The roads and weather are very different in summer compared to winter, and journeys are often longer. These factors impact on vehicle performance, as well as wear and tear. During periods of hot weather, the RAC Breakdown Cover often experiences a 20% increase in call-outs – and 30% in coastal areas . Some call-outs aren’t preventable, but if motorists inspect their vehicles regularly, especially before long journeys and in extreme weather conditions, some could be.

Check yourself:

  • All wiper blades for wear or splitting
  • Windscreen washer fluid level and washer jet adjustment
  • Oil and coolant levels following the instructions in the owner’s handbook
  • The electric cooling fan – run the engine until it’s up to temperature and listen for the fan switching on
  • All exterior and interior lights
  • Tyre condition (inc. the spare) for correct pressures and legal tread depth – the current minimum legal tread depth for cars is 1.6mm
  • Jack and wheel brace – make sure they’re in good working order.

Have a garage check:

  • Cooling system – a leaking cooling system or inoperative cooling fan could cause extensive damage to the engine
  • Auxiliary belt/fan belt.

Other considerations:

  • It may be useful to practice changing the spare wheel, following instructions in your owner's handbook
  • Make sure you have a spare set of keys for your vehicle in a safe place
  • If you plan to take a caravan, check the tyre condition and the braking system
  • Never overload your vehicle or caravan beyond the designed carrying capacity.

Prepare yourself properly if travelling long distances in the summer:

  • Plan your journey to avoid getting lost or getting stuck in traffic jams
  • Take plenty of water and refreshments, and take regular breaks – research service stations along your journey before setting off
  • Take sun cream in case you break down
  • If you have children, take some games you can play in the car
  • Rest sufficiently before travelling – driving straight after a full working day is not advised.

We recommend that you carry these essentials in your car

  • A first aid kit
  • A high quality torch, preferably with long life and spare batteries
  • A warning triangle
  • A high visibility vest/jacket
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A spare fuel can
  • A light bulb kit
  • Additional engine oil, water and windscreen wash (for topping up)
  • An up-to-date road map or sat navigation system.
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