Car Maintenance: What to Look out for During the Summer and Winter

Taking care of your car should always be a priority, no matter how much you use it, or what you use it for. Whether you use your vehicle once a week to go grocery shopping, or you drive your car daily to get to and from work, you need to know how to take care of it, especially during the summer and winter months.

Although the summer and winter months are quite different, both seasons can take a toll on your vehicle, so it’s important that you look after it.

Let’s look at how you can take care of your car during both seasons:

What you need to look out for during the summer months

The summer months can take a toll on your vehicle because you’re likely to make longer journeys than you would any other time of the year. This means you will need to regularly check the following:

  • Tires – make sure they have enough air in them.
  • Wiper blades – they need to work well, especially on the driver’s side
  • Windscreen washer level – it may not rain very much during the summer, but your windscreen may get dirty, and will, therefore, need to be cleaned.
  • Lights work – both inside and out.
  • The car battery is in good working order – if you’re not sure it is, you will need to have the best jump pack that you can afford, just in case.
  • Coolant and oil levels – they should be high, if you’re not sure how much you need, check your owner’s handbook for more information.
  • Tire replacement kit – in case you get a flat. You’ll need a wheel jack and a brace: make sure they are in good working order.
  • Spare tire – will it get you home? Does it have enough tread? If your spare tire isn’t very good, or you don’t have one, you should think about buying one.
Take your car to the garage

Ask your local garage to check the fan belt and cooling system. The cooling system is important as it can damage the engine if it doesn’t work properly. The fan belt keeps the alternator and your battery running, which in turn keeps your car running. Checking that the fan belt is ok, will help to eliminate a lot of problems.
You may also want to think about…

Before you set off on a long journey, check your tires, wipers, and lights. Try to get in the habit of checking them each time you travel longer distances or even short distances. Checks take no more than a few minutes, and they could help you to spot an issue before it’s too late.

Volkswagen Beetle on winter tires

What you need to look out for during the winter months

The winter months can take a much bigger toll on your car than the spring, summer, and autumn put together. The harsh weather and cold temperatures can mean your vehicle may struggle to get going and deal with the often extreme conditions that are thrown at it. During the winter months you will regularly need to check the following:

  • Tires – not only to make sure they have enough air in them but to also make sure they are suitable for winter use. If you live in an area where there is usually a lot of snow and ice, you may want to consider buying winter tires. Comparison of how summer and winter tires perform can be found here.
  • Wiper blades – they need to work effectively, especially on the driver’s side. Have a spare set of blades in the car, just in case your current ones become damaged.
  • Windscreen washer level – Fill your windscreen washer level up quite high so you can wash away any dirt, sludge, and snow that has hit your windscreen.
  • Lights work – both inside and out. You’re likely to be using your external lights a lot more, so check that they work before you go anywhere.
  • Battery – Make sure it’s in good working order, as is your alternator. If they are not, consider buying the best jump box that you can afford, so you can restart your car even on the coldest of days.
  • Antifreeze levels – Try to have enough in your radiators so that the engine does not freeze over. Check the levels regularly, and carry a spare anti-freeze with you.
  • Tire replacement kit – you’ll need a wheel jack and a brace, and you’ll need to make sure your spare tire is suitable for use during the winter months. See here for a great walkthrough on how to change a tire.
  • Tyre pressure – Check your tire pressure at least once a week. Having the right tire pressure will keep your vehicle more stable on the road, and it will save fuel too. If you’re not sure what the pressure is supposed to be, please consult your owner’s handbook.
Take your car to the garage…

Your local garage will be able to check for any minor issues that may become major problems when your car is out on the road during the winter months. Ask your garage to do the checks before the bad weather sets in, so that you know your car is safe to drive and is more likely to get you where you need to be.

Car maintenance during the summer and winter months should be on your mind every time you head out on the road. Make sure you check your tires, lights, and wiper blades. Buy the best jump box so you know you can restart your car should you need to, and get prepared for whatever the weather may throw at you. Keeping your car in good condition means you’re more likely to get to where you need to be when you need to be there. Taking just a few minutes to make sure everything is in good working order can make a huge difference to your journey, and your safety on the road. Be smart, check your car.

James Fields

James loves to tinker with autoelectrics more than his wife would like sometimes. Family comes first, cars second.