Summer Car Care Tips
Hot weather can be rough on cars. Higher temperatures break down fluids and lubricants more quickly, which leads to more wear and tear on the engine. By following the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule for your car (see your owner's manual) and taking the following precautions, your car should be ready for a long, hot summer.
- Consider a pre-trip inspection by a licensed auto repair facility. Have any recommended repairs done before you leave.
- Test the air conditioning. Turn it on and let it run for a few minutes. Inspect the belts and hoses. You may want to have a service professional inspect the entire system.
- Inspect batteries and battery cables for corrosion, cracks, and dirt. Hot weather can shorten a battery's life, so have it tested if it is near the end of its warranty. Replace the battery if necessary.
- Have a licensed brake adjuster inspect your brake pads and linings for wear according to the manufacturer's service intervals and specifications.
- Change the engine oil and filter according to the manufacturer's service intervals and specifications. A service specialist should also check the coolant, brake, automatic transmission, windshield wiper, and steering fluid.
- Replace ragged or worn-out wiper blades.
- Make sure all tires, including the spare, are properly inflated. Look for uneven or excessive tread wear. Have your tires rotated at the manufacturer's recommended intervals.
- Never leave for a trip with your car's check engine light or malfunction indicator light on. Have the problem diagnosed by a qualified technician and make necessary repairs before you leave.
- Test your car's interior and exterior lights, including turn signals and high beams, to make sure they work. Clean the lenses to get maximum visibility.
- Change your car's air filters according to the manufacturer's service intervals and specifications. A dirty air filter lowers gas mileage and reduces engine performance.
- Have the radiator and hoses checked for leaks and wear. Have the cooling system flushed and refilled according to the manufacturer's service intervals and specifications. This service should include a check of the pressure cap.
Sound familiar? Many of these tips are the maintenance procedures you should be following all year long. Read your owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle. Don't forget to verify a repair shop's license before seeking any repairs or maintenance services.