Many of us think of winter as being the most testing season for cars. But actually summer throws up just as many challenges. Here we look at some of the main ones and offer some handy summer motoring hacks that will help you to preserve your car’s value and ensure safe, comfortable and trouble-free motoring.
How to clean bird poo off
Bird poo is an unfortunate by-product of summer. Park under trees with plenty of leaves on them and there’s bound to be a bird lurking in there with your car in its crosshairs.
The trouble with bird poo is that it’s very acidic and as soon as it lands on your car, it goes to work burning a blemish into your paintwork. Don’t wait until you wash your car to get rid: clean it off as soon as you can.
Assuming you’re not on site within minutes of the bird doing its worst, you’ll probably need to rehydrate the poo. Do this by leaving a wet cloth on it for about quarter of an hour ‑ old flannels are good for this. Then it should be a simple matter of wiping the poo away.
How to cool your car down quickly
Air conditioning is brilliant at turning a sweltering car cockpit into a cool, tranquil oasis away from burning sunshine. Here’s how to cool an interior quickly.
First open all the car doors and windows. A closed car gets much hotter than the ambient temperature so this will let some of the hot air escape. Then turn the air conditioning on. Make sure the recirculating button isn’t pressed so air is coming in from outside.
When you start driving, keep the windows down for a few minutes. Switch the air con so air is blasting through the lower vents. As heat rises, this will help push the hot air up and out of the windows. Once the air coming through the vents feels significantly cooler than the air outside, put the windows up.
Once you’ve done this, turn the air con to recirculating. This will keep the cool conditioned air in the car and mean the air con doesn’t have to work as hard ‑ or use as much fuel ‑ to keep the cockpit temperature comfortable.
Keep water in your car
Put a bottle of mineral water in your boot: it can benefit both you and your car. For a start, researchers have found that driving dehydrated can be almost as bad for our ability to concentrate on driving as drinking alcohol.
Admittedly if it’s been in the boot on a warm day, a bottle of water isn’t going to feel as refreshing as if it’s come out of the fridge. But console yourself with the fact there are multiple health benefits to drinking warm water.
And if you don’t need it, your car might. Stop-start traffic in warm weather can put your car’s cooling system to the test. If it doesn’t have sufficient coolant in it, you might notice your temperature gauge rising. It’s easy to see if your coolant is low from the min and max markers on the coolant expansion tank under the bonnet.
It’s fine to use water as an emergency top-up. Just make sure a professional tests the concentration of anti-freeze before temperatures drop.
Clean off tree sap ASAP
One of the joys of summer and in particular dry weather is trees shed sap. These tiny sticky droplets on your car’s paintwork don’t just attract dust and dirt. They’re acidic and so harmful for paintwork too.
As with bird poo, the best thing to do is to clean it off as soon as you notice it. This is relatively straightforward. Hose the car down then use warm water with a special car shampoo. Rinse the car and the sap should be gone. That means when you come to selling your car, your paintwork stands a good chance of maintaining its original lustre. Alternatively, you could always buy a car cover.