Summer is finally upon us, and this is the time of treks to the beach, road trips and taking nice, scenic drives just because. When we think of harsh driving conditions, the winter season typically comes to mind, but summer can also be tough on your car for different reasons. Here are just a few tips to prep your car for this time of year.
Give Your Tires Some Love
Our tires are one of the most important parts of our vehicle, yet one of the most ignored. We typically don’t give them the proper attention until they are dangerously worn down, or go completely flat. Not properly maintaining tires can actually endanger your life. Summer temps will make the roads hotter, and hotter temperatures increase tire pressure. It is important to inspect your tires for any signs of damage, such as dry rot, big bumps in the sidewall or uneven wear. In hot weather, even small issues can turn into a big problem. Tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles, and pressure checked once a month. The owner’s manual will tell you recommended tire pressure for that vehicle.
If you need a new set of tires, bite the bullet and buy them. It can be a big expense, but repairing any damage to the car after a blowout may be much more expensive. If you are on a tight budget, you can find many businesses offering quality used auto parts.
Check Your Air Conditioning
Unless you live somewhere that is warmer year-round, your A/C has probably been out of commission for quite some time. It is a good idea to get it check out to make sure it is in good working order. A common problem is refrigerant leaking out slowly over time, which overworks the compressor, which then put extra burden on your engine. If it is not feeling as cold as it did last summer, get it serviced.
Check Your Coolant
If you are thinking… gee, can’t remember the last time I checked my coolant, chances are you need to get on that stat, since you should be changing it at least yearly. Old coolant develops an electric charge that can prematurely corrode your engine and radiator; over time, that will lead to leaks and some very expensive repairs. Not only do you want fresh coolant in there—you want the proper balance between coolant and water, which is 50/50. You can purchase a coolant tester, which can tell you whether to adjust the current mixture.
Make Sure All Fluids are in Good Condition
Besides your coolant, which deserved its own section, there are various other fluids your car needs to run properly. Before summer hits, it is a good idea to check all of them to ensure they are at the proper levels, and are of optimal color. Brake fluid should be clear or yellow, while power –steering and transmission fluid should be a nice, bright red. Oil should be a honey-brown or brown. If your fluids don’t quite look like this, it is time for a flush and replacement.