Car Maintenance – How to keep your vehicle running safely in hot weather

By Anita Jaynes on 24 August, 2022

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This summer, the UK is in the grips of an unprecedented pattern of weather. Having already experienced temperatures above 40 degrees in July, further heatwaves are set to cause maximal disruption once again – with tangible impacts on transport infrastructure.

Many will be expected to use the roads in spite of this inclement weather, whether as part of a regular commute or in response to cancelled public transport. But driving in hot weather can be tough on your car. What should you be thinking about when it comes to car care and maintenance during a heatwave?

Fuel Economy

Fuel economy is a key concern for drivers at the moment, with the cost of fuel having risen considerably in recent months. Hot weather can inspire decreased fuel economy when driving, in spite of the weather being potentially beneficial for your engine. This is because the various methods you’ll deploy to cool yourself while driving can be taxing on your fuel usage.

For one, opening your car windows while driving significantly increases your car’s drag, requiring more energy to defeat wind resistance as a result. Your car’s air conditioning, meanwhile, can be incredibly power-hungry itself. Opening your windows at low speeds to expel warmer air, and then closing your windows at higher speeds to use your AC, is the most economical path to a cool and comfortable drive.

Tyres

Your tyres are another chief concern, especially where roads have absorbed an unusual amount of heat. Tyres can bubble and puncture much easier in warmer weather – and, as a virtue of being softer in hotter climates, can be more liable to blow-outs. 

Your tyres can also have a knock-on impact on your fuel economy. Hotter weather impacts the air pressure inside your tyre, and can lead to uneven wear – reducing traction and increasing fuel usage. Taking your car in for a full service will ensure your tyres are examined and replaced if necessary.

Battery Life

The hot weather can have a direct impact on the life of your car battery, an essential component of your car the failure of which can cause serious disruption. Higher temperatures cause the liquids inside the battery to evaporate, reducing the amount of available charge. 

Corrosion is also quickened by the rise and fall of higher temperatures. Regular checks of battery condition and charge will enable you to act and replace your battery when it needs to be, ensuring you don’t find yourself caught short mid-commute.

Paintwork

Lastly, your car’s paintwork is also likely to suffer under the intense light and heat of a heatwave. This will not have an impact on your car’s safety or fuel economy, but could cause it to depreciate in value much quicker. The sun’s UV rays can have a bleaching effect on colours, causing them to fade.

Parking your car in the shade can solve this problem, while also keeping your car’s interior cool – resulting in less fuel usage on AC.