Basic car maintenance is essential – especially for Arizona drivers. Hot, dry temperatures can push a vehicle past its limits, causing expensive problems that could also leave you stranded. Some of the maintenance tasks required to prepare for hot weather are reasonably simple to perform, but some are best left to an experienced automotive technician.
Here are a few of the most essential basic car maintenance tips that will help keep you comfortable and safe on the road.
Check All Fluids
Check all the fluids in your vehicle, not just the coolant. Hot weather causes added strain on all systems in the car. So, have the coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, oil, and windshield wiper fluid in your car checked regularly to make sure they’re at the appropriate levels.
During the hot Arizona heat, the air conditioner is more than a convenience. Air conditioners help reduce the fatigue that can inhibit driver alertness as well as keep your car from becoming dangerously hot. If the car’s air conditioning isn’t keeping things as cool as it once did, it could mean that the refrigerant level is low, or there’s a different problem. If your AC seems to be having issues, have it checked out by an ASE-certified technician. It’s also important to note that if your vehicle has a cabin filter, it needs to be inspected and replaced as necessary to assure maximum cooling and airflow.
Cold weather can lead to problems with a car’s battery; however, the same applies to hot weather. Excessive heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, leading to problems in the charging system that can damage the battery. Inspect the battery and have it serviced or replaced before hitting the road.
Check the Tire Pressure
High temperatures put added stress on the tires. If the tires are under-inflated, they’re already subject to increased friction, which in turn causes heat. So, if the weather’s hot, they’re more likely to fail. That said, over-inflated tires have their own set of problems because air expands with heat. This can result in uneven tread wear that can cause a blowout. Keep a tire gauge hand and check your tire pressure to make sure it matches the owner’s manual recommendations. For an accurate tire pressure reading, check it when the tires are cold.
Play it Safe
It’s a good idea to store an emergency kit in the car and keep your cell phone charged and handy if you experience a breakdown. Even with preventive, basic car maintenance, breakdowns can occur, so keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle is important. Include items like non-perishable food, water, a flashlight (and extra batteries), jumper cables, road flares, and a first aid kit. Also, never, ever leave children or pets in the car, especially during hot weather months.
Basic car maintenance can be a DIY project, but it’s often inexpensive to have it done for you. Contact us if you would like your basic car maintenance “done for you.”