Summer Driving Safety Tips

Many of us worry about our cars during winter but driving in hot weather can also have a significant impact on your vehicle. From your engine overheating to tyre punctures, summer driving can leave your car prone to a number of issues. However, with a few simple preparatory measures, those summer journeys can be breeze.

In this article, we’ll cover the biggest challenges of driving in the heat, along with our top summer driving safety tips to make sure you’re always prepared.

Check your tyres

Hot weather can leave your tyres prone to punctures and can exacerbate any existing issues. The heat can cause the air in your tyres to expand, with the additional pressure potentially causing a blowout. As a result, it’s crucial to check that your tyres are in good condition before setting off on any long journeys in hot weather.

When you check your tyres, look out for any signs of wear and tear such as cracks or distortions in the rubber. Check your tread depth either by using a tyre tread gauge or a 20 pence piece. If you insert the 20p into the tread grooves and you can’t see the outer ring of the coin, your tyre is above the minimum tread depth. The minimum is 1.6mm but it’s recommended that you aim for at least 3mm.

It's especially important that your tyres are well inflated if you’re going on a staycation or summer road trip. Tyres can lose pressure more rapidly during warmer weather, so it’s essential to get this checked before you head off. You can find your recommended tyre pressure in your vehicle handbook, the inside of your fuel cap or driver’s door sill.

Discover more on how to check and inflate car tyres

Check your engine coolant

Engine coolant, also known as antifreeze helps regulate the temperature of your car during the warmer and cooler months. Therefore, it’s essential to check that everything is in order during the warmer months to prevent it from overheating. You’ll know if your engine is overheating as the thermometer light on your dashboard will illuminate. This could also be down to a fault with your cooling fan.

You shouldn’t need to top up your engine coolant in between services if you have a modern car as most have a sealed cooling system. However, there is the possibility that you could experience a leak. Ideally, you should keep an eye on your engine coolant every couple of weeks to help you spot any potential issues early on.

Your coolant levels should be between the minimum and maximum marks indicated on the expansion tank. If you need to top this up, make sure you’re using the right antifreeze for your car.

If you discover that your coolant level has suddenly dropped or you suspect your cooling fan has broken, it’s important to take it to a garage as soon as possible to understand the cause.

Discover more on the right antifreeze for your car

Check your car battery

Although summer may not be as hard on your battery as winter, you may still encounter some issues that could potentially lead to a breakdown. With the kids on their summer holidays and many of us heading on road trips and staycations, the roads can be significantly busier. As a result, you may encounter increased levels of stop-start activity when in traffic queues. Signs of car battery issues are your car struggling to start and lights appearing dimmer, including dashboard lights.

If your car battery is more than 4 or 5 years old, it’s especially important to get it looked at or replaced as this is when issues can start to arise. Equally, taking lots of short trips can also impact your battery, particularly if the kids have electronic devices plugged in such as phones and tablets. It’s essential to make sure your car battery has sufficient charge before setting off on those long summer road trips. For further guidance, check out our guide on how to charge a car battery. If you find your car battery is struggling to maintain its charge, it’s likely you’ll need to get it replaced, so head to a garage as soon as possible.

Discover more about our car battery fitting service.

Clean your windscreen

Harsh sunlight can lead to glare on your windscreen, making it difficult to see what’s ahead. Your view will be further impaired if your windscreen is also covered in dust and dirt. Before you set off, make sure you give your windscreen a thorough clean to ensure all dirt has been removed and ensure your vehicle is topped up with enough washer fluid. It’s important to bear in mind that it’s also illegal to drive if your vision of the road is obscured and can lead to fines and penalty points on your license.

Discover more tips on how to wash your car

Check your air conditioning

Your car’s air conditioning system can be a real-life saver during a heat wave, but it’s important to carry out regular checks to ensure everything is working efficiently when the temperatures outside start to rise.

Car air con systems can become clogged and faulty after months of infrequent during the winter. If you notice your air conditioning system isn’t working as it should, simply book an air con diagnostic check and one of our technicians will check the system for any faults or leaks. If left, a broken air con system can drain power, fuel and can lead to an overheating engine, so worth getting this checked out.

Book air con diagnostic check

Don’t leave pets and children in hot cars

As it gets hotter outside, temperatures can rise quickly within 10 minutes, so it can be extremely dangerous to leave your child or pet unattended in the car on a hot day. If you need to travel during high temperatures, planning ahead can help keep your car seats cool for a more comfortable ride. If you are parking the car in the sun for a while, drape a blanket over the car seat. This will help prevent the seats from heating up and will provide a more pleasant journey once you have returned to the car.

Key motoring points when the weather is hot

When in doubt, if you’re driving in hot weather and heading on long journeys, remember FORCES:

F for fuel

O for oil

R for rubber

C for coolant

E for electrics

S for screen wash

If you remember each of these measures while driving in summer, you’ll be well prepared and less likely to experience a summer breakdown. If you’d rather leave your car checks to an expert, you can book in for our 10-point check car check which covers tyres, battery, fluid checks and more, so you can be assured your vehicle is ready for the warmer weather.

Book 10-point car check

Halfords Motoring Club

To keep your vehicle in top condition throughout the seasons, why not join the Halfords Motoring Club? You can enjoy a range of amazing benefits and discounts that are designed to keep you moving, keep you safe and keep you saving.

Or choose our Premium membership for a small monthly fee (or a one-off payment) to unlock exclusive member pricing on all motoring products and services online and across our stores, garages, and Halfords Mobile Experts, as well as a variety of other benefits that will help you to keep moving for less. With so much to enjoy, this is too good an opportunity to miss!

Join the Halfords Motoring Club today at

Join the Halfords Motoring Club