10 Simple Summer Car Care Tips
While drivers are busy enjoying a whole range of fun summertime adventures, including family road trips, trekking the kids to summer camp, and regular jaunts to the pool, it can be easy to forget to pay attention to car maintenance, beyond your typical gas fill-up. But because the heat can really take its toll on your vehicle, here are 10 Simple Summer Car-Care Tips to keep your vehicle in great shape:
1. Keep your cool: Staying cool is important, not just for you, but also for your car. Beyond checking the level of coolant fluid, be sure to inspect the state of the hoses and coolant reservoir, keeping an eye out for leaks. Squeeze the hoses (when the engine is cool) from time to time to make sure they feel firm and not excessively squishy or soft.
2. Tighten up your belt: There usually is a serpentine belt that runs between the alternator, the fan and several other components that can become loose or deteriorate over time. It needs to be in good condition and at the right amount of tension, so if you see cracks or small pieces missing, it’s time to replace the belt.
3. Clear your vision: Summer rain showers really can do a number on wearing out your windshield wipers, creating nasty streaks across your windshield and affecting your vision while driving. Replacing your wipers is not costly so you may want to inquire about wiper installation during your regular oil changes.
4. Stay hydrated: Check oil, brake, power-steering and windshield-washer fluids regularly, as these liquids are in constant use and are key to your vehicle functioning properly.
5. Crank the air: Air conditioning is a summer essential, so if the system hasn’t been working properly in recent months, summer certainly is the time to get serious about repairing any leaks or issues. Have one of our qualified mechanics fix the leak before paying to have the air-conditioning system recharged.
6. Clean your filters: Summer is the time to have your air filter replaced. Many modern cars also have pollen filters or cabin filtration systems, so be sure to take a look at those, too. And, as always, when in doubt, please give us a call.
7. Under pressure: Tires really need to be checked regularly all year round, and summertime is no exception. Pressures must be correct (consult the manual for levels specific to your vehicle), treads should be free of stones or stray nails, and all four tires should be in good condition (meaning no cracks, no uneven wear, and plenty of tread depth). Don’t forget to also check your spare to be sure it’s usable.
8. Throw some shade: Don’t underestimate the benefit of a dashboard sunshade for those times when you’re not driving but the car is still out in the sun. It helps to protect the dashboard and interior against ultraviolet rays, prevent fading over time, and, in the short term, keep the interior a little cooler.
9. Keep it clean: Those long, balmy evenings when the sun seems to hang low for hours can be lovely, but also hazardous if your car’s windshield is dirty. Any haze on it can diffuse the light and make things hard to see, so be sure to keep your car’s exterior clean. Things look much sharper after your car has had a good wash, and regular washings protect the paintwork from the sun’s rays.
10. Plan accordingly: It’s hot out there, so keep the driver and passengers happy by making sure everyone stays hydrated. Plan road trips by making lists of what you’ll need to keep everyone in the car content during the journey (for example, sunglasses, travel mugs, games for the kids, snacks, phone chargers, etc.). And don’t forget to have those just-in-case items like a flashlight and a small tool kit handy. Be sure your license and insurance are up to date, and remember to keep tabs on your vehicle’s scheduled service.
“You may have summer vacation on the brain,” says Brian Moody, executive editor at Autotrader, “but your vehicle is working even harder in the warmer temps. Because it is so important to keep your car running well during the hot summer months, these few simple tips can help keep things running smoothly so you and your passengers can relax and enjoy the ride.”
If you have questions or need to schedule a service appointment, please give us a call at (866) 822-9314.