Hot summer temperatures can take a toll on your car. Pushing the car past its limits, extreme heat can end up leaving drivers stranded on the side of the road. The following five car maintenance tips for summer can help ensure that it doesn’t happen to you and that if you do have a problem, you’ll be prepared.
1. Keep the Engine Cool
Cooling systems keep engines from overheating, but you need to have them flushed periodically to make sure they function effectively. You’ll also need to keep the coolant filled to the appropriate level. If the coolant level is low, top it off with the version specified by the car’s manufacturer (typically with a 50/50 combination of water). It’s also important to inspect drive belts and hoses, looking for soft spots, cracking, or other signs of wear because rubber cooling system parts are susceptible to extreme heat.
2. Check Fluid Levels
Most fluids in the engine are there to lubricate and function as coolants by carrying the heat away from vital components. When the fluid levels are low, their cooling effects are reduced, increasing the chances of overheating. It’s also important to check all vehicle fluids regularly, including motor oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and brake fluid, to make sure they’re at appropriate levels. If you need to top off any of these fluids, use the type that is specified in the owner’s manual.
3. Ensure the Tires Are Accurately Inflated
Driving on under-inflated tires causes them to overheat, increasing the chances of a blowout, especially when temperatures cause the asphalt to be as high as 160 degrees Fahrenheit. You should check the tire pressure at least once a month, including the spare. For the most accurate reading, check the pressure when the tires are cold. Refer to the owner’s manual recommended inflation pressure. You can also find this information on the driver-side door jam or on a label in the glove box.
4. Check the A/C
The air-conditioning system is much more than a nice convenience during the hot summer months. It keeps you cool and comfortable and helps reduce fatigue, an important benefit because it helps keep drivers alert and safe behind the wheel. If the air conditioning isn’t sustaining a cool interior temperature as well as it used to, it could mean that the refrigerant level is low, or there’s another problem. Either way, the system should be inspected by a certified auto repair technician. If the vehicle has a cabin filter, it should also be inspected and replaced if necessary, ensuring maximum cooling and airflow during the hot summer months.
5. Be Prepared
Even if you follow the car maintenance tips for summer listed here, breakdowns can still happen, so it’s important to have an emergency kit in the car. The kit should include jumper cables, a basic tool kit, a flashlight (and extra batteries), non-perishable food items, water, road flares, and a first aid kit.
Some of the car maintenance tips for summer listed here can be performed by the average driver; however, most require the skills of a trained auto repair technician.
Call us today for your car’s summer maintenance.