According to the National Weather Service, the average first 90-degree day for Phoenix is on March 31. This year it was later than normal, but that doesn’t mean we’re in for a cool summer. Phoenix temperatures can reach up to 128 degrees! Nobody wants to be stranded in that heat, so these summer car maintenance tips might help you avoid just that.
8 Summer Car Maintenance Tips
Keep the Tires Inflated
Make sure that the tires are appropriately inflated. Tires need to be inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You’ll find the recommendations in the owner’s manual or printed on the vehicle door placard (typically on the driver’s side door jam). Don’t assess tire inflation visually; you need to use a tire pressure gauge to get the correct pounds PSI (per square inch) reading. Over-inflated tires will lead to uneven wear and a possible blowout.
Check Out the Tire Tread
You need good tire treads to drive safely. When tire treads are worn, vehicles respond poorly in any weather condition. Worn treads can also cause other parts of the vehicle to wear out prematurely. While there are DIY ways to determine tread depth (inserting a penny upside down in a groove – if you see all of Lincoln’s head you need a new tire), the best rule of thumb is to stop by your trusted auto care center.
Top Off Fluids
Be sure that fluids under the hood are at optimum levels. Check out fluids that include motor oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid. Engine coolant (antifreeze) is the most important thing motorists should stay on top of during the hot summer months. In addition, if you’re planning on a road trip, get the oil changed before you take off. Motor oil does a lot more than simply lubricate your vehicle’s moving parts. It helps keep the engine cool and provides protection over a broad temperature range.
Have the Battery Tested
Corrosion, overcharging, and hot temperatures can shorten the life of your battery. Extreme heat can cause the fluid in batteries to evaporate, damaging the internal structure. The last thing you want is to be stuck because your car won’t start. You can avoid this happening by having the battery checked out before the summer heat really kicks in.
Check the Brakes
Yes – hot weather can cause brake problems too. High temperatures can cause brake fluid to break down, having a hazardous impact on your brakes ability to react quickly. In addition, hot temperatures can cause brake pad problems
Keep It Clean
Washing your vehicle during the summer months will help protect its finish by preventing airborne contaminants (dirt, bug guts, salt, pollen, etc.) from sticking to your vehicle. Car experts recommend washing the car at least once a week to prevent contaminants from damaging the paint and finish.
Of all the summer car maintenance tips, this is one of the most important! Even a somewhat working AC system will fail altogether during Arizona’s hot summer months. If your vehicle’s air conditioning isn’t getting cold, adding refrigerant will only be a temporary fix. So, have the cooling system checked out sooner rather than later.
It’s also important to keep your car cool when you’re not driving. Not only can the heat cause cosmetic damage, but it will also take time to cool off once it’s time to drive. Protect the interior (preventing cracking and fading) and exterior (paint/finish damage) of your car by parking in a garage or carport and invest in a sunshade. Regularly waxing your vehicle with a polish that offers UV protection will reduce paint fading and sun damage as well.
Plan for an Emergency
No one ever plans on getting stuck on the side of the road, but it happens (more often than not). Keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle (all year round) is an important necessity. Include things like a flashlight (don’t forget the fresh batteries), spare tire and jack, jumper cables, a car charger for your cell phone, a first aid kit, roadside flares, paper towels, snacks, and water.
Preparation is key when it comes to dealing with Phoenix’s extreme summer heat. The summer car maintenance tips listed here will help ensure that your vehicle performs at its best this summer. You won’t just be better prepared to survive the heat, you’ll also be able to take full advantage of the freedom that a well-cared-for vehicle has to offer. Ready to have your car checked out before the real summer heat hits the area? Contact us today.