There are many fun activities to enjoy during the summer months, including trips to fairs, water parks, and family road trips. This means you’re going to be spending a lot more time in your car. These trips can often mean more miles on your vehicle than you would normally put on it at other times during the year. Fortunately, there are a few summer car care tips that you can follow to keep your vehicle maintained and avoid any preventable breakdowns.
Changing The Oil
Easily the most important part of maintaining your car on a yearly basis. You need to change your oil regularly and make sure it is a thicker weight than you use in the winter months. The heat will thin your oil out further, and the thin oil you use during the winter may not be able to properly the lubricate the motor, causing friction and damage. It may be helpful to also change the filters so that the air conditioning coming into the car is clean and fresh.
Check the tread of your tires regularly in the summer. Tires that are under-inflated, over-inflated, worn down or misaligned can be extremely dangerous, particularly in hot summer weather. The summer heat can cause the rubber on the tires to wear away a little faster, so you should check them at least every couple weeks to make sure that you don’t end up with bald tires. The tire pressure should also be a bit lower than it is in winter months. This is especially important in the mountains, where changes in altitude can alter your tire pressure drastically!
These are the standard movie setting breakdowns for cars for a reason. Your radiator can easily be overworked on hot summer days. If there isn't enough coolant in your vehicle, then the motor will overheat, leaving you stranded. This can result in severe damage to the head as well as other components. A lack of coolant can also result in damage to the radiator. Pay attention to how long the vehicle sits in traffic and whether the fan comes on or if the temperature level in the car comes down after reaching the midway point as this can be an indication that something is wrong.
The Electrical System
Although a little harder to diagnose electrical issues, you can still maintain the basic parts and check their health. You'll want to examine the electrical system, including the battery and alternator by using volt testers to test any electrical spikes. Your local auto parts center can easily help with this. These components can become strained under the heat of the summer months because of using the air conditioner and other aspects of the vehicle that sometimes aren't used in the winter are running constantly. The heat can also increase the rate of fluid loss in the battery, which means that you might need a new battery sooner rather than later if it is already struggling a little.
While sitting in traffic and driving in thunderstorms, the brake system of your vehicle can take a beating. Check the brake pads, as well as the rotors, to ensure that they can stop the car like they are supposed to. One of the top causes of car crashes during the summer months is distracted driving, and if your brakes aren’t functioning at their optimal capacity, you could easily become part of that statistic. Pay attention to any odd noises from the brakes as this can be an indication of worn pads.
Your vehicle shouldn't be neglected in the summer just because you spend more time with your family or spend more time outside. It's important to examine all areas of your vehicle in the summer because you will likely be on the road more often. If you are unsure of what to look for, then consider going to a mechanic who can check several points of the vehicle for any issues.
Protecting your car is important, and you should be keeping track of more than just maintenance. If you have questions or need auto insurance, check out our offerings here.