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Car Essentials for Summer and Christmas Holiday


In Nigeria, raining season is heading to its annual stop. Being September, Nigerians and motoring public are counting weeks before Christmas holiday.

Similarly, as of last week, many parts of South Africa experienced not just their first taste of spring but possibly of summer with temperatures over 30°C already.

Before embarking on this summer, in case of South Africa or annual Christmas holiday trips, motorists need to plan ahead. You might even need to catch up on some vehicle maintenance.

Of course, ideally, regular and continual car maintenance should mean the demands that change of season places on your vehicle, and consequently your wallet, are minimal.

Notwithstanding, in preparation for summer or your upcoming holiday motoring trip, it is essential to conduct these five important checks on your car.”

  1. Check your fluids: the warmer temperatures of spring and summer can cause engine fluids to thin or even evaporate. Thus, before it gets too warm check your vehicle’s coolant levels. Additionally, avoid the mistake of using water instead of coolant as most vehicles require coolant only.
  2. Test your brakes: winter weather can negatively impact your brake performance. Pay extra attention to how responsive your vehicle is when you brake, listen for squealing or ‘growling’ sounds and test your brakes to check whether your vehicle pulls to one side when braking. Should you notice any of these things, take some time to inspect and potentially replace your brakes.
  3. Conduct seasonal checks: winter can be harsh on parts like windshield wipers while the start of summer places more demand on your wipers as rainy season begins. Meanwhile, summer is harsh air filters as the pollen count increases. Generally, wipers need to be checked at the end of every season and air filters replaced at least once a year when you service your vehicle. Neglecting this can result in dangerous situations on the road where you do not have properly working windscreen wipers or it cost you more money as old air filters place pressure on AC systems.
  4. Check tyre pressure: the different temperatures between seasons can affect tyre pressure. For every 10°C that the temperature drops in winter, your tire pressure also decreases. It is recommended to double check for underinflation.
  5. Test your AC: while vehicles can still function without air-conditioning, it’s best to check that it is still in working order as you enter warmer months. It is inadvisable to have a non-functioning AC during high temperatures. Vehicles with warm interiors can cause fatigue, pose a health risk in the form of dehydration and even cause you to use more petrol if you need to drive with your windows open in  certain circumstances.

Whether you are eagerly anticipating or dreading the warmer temperatures, remember that summer can have an effect on your vehicle too.

Even if you are fastidious in the maintenance and upkeep of your vehicle, take a few moments to do these vital checks to ensure your vehicle is fully prepared for the Christmas holiday and subsequently, a warm summer.

Eugene Herbert is the CEO of MasterDrive based in South Africa

Edited by : Matilda Frances

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