The hot sun can spell trouble for your vehicle.
But there are a lot of summer car care tips available to help drivers avoid that fate. Some are as simple as washing your vehicle in the early morning or late evening. This helps avoid the water spots that are more persistent during hot days. Plenty of other summer car care tips, however, are a bit more important. They might aid in comfort or keep your car running smoothly for longer. Either way, if you're like most motorists, you probably drive during at least a few hot months. If so, we recommend the steps listed below.
The Best Summer Car Care Tips for Your Vehicle
No matter what kind of car you drive, you want it to be operating at peak performance. And hot summers can take their toll on more than just the paint job. That's why our summer car care tips focus on the entire car.
Some tips apply under the hood, some are in the cabin and others are outside. But they all combine to give drivers some added confidence before braving another blistering summer.
In addition to the steps below, we certainly recommend regularly scheduled maintenance. But these are some steps you can probably take on your own just to make sure things are in order.
1. Check in on Your Coolant.
Let's start with the basics. When it's hot, you want to make sure your car won't overheat. And the only way to have peace of mind is to check your coolant system. This doesn't have to be an exhaustive investigation, especially in a new and reliable car. But in the long run, a few minutes under the hood could save you a big hassle.
We suggest monitoring the level of coolant in the system before you get to the hottest part of the season. While you're there, check to see if there is any evidence of a leak. And check out the hoses to see if there's anything that looks suspicious. If you see something, it's best to address it ahead of time. If it all looks good, then you can check it off your list of summer car care tips.
Of course, we recommend checking all your fluid levels periodically. And you should always ensure the type of fluid you're using is the best choice for your situation. But during those hottest months, coolant is an especially important tool.
2. Keep an Eye on Your Tire Pressure.
Since they are one of the most important parts of your car, we recommend checking tires frequently. Things like proper tread and inflation are vital not only to ride quality but safety. In the summer months, though, the risk can be increased for a few reasons.
First of all, the temperature change can alter the reading of your tire gauge. So even if your set is properly inflated during spring, summer might bring different results. You might also be putting more miles on your car when the sun is shining bright. More wear on the rubber means the effects of normal wear are accelerated. If you're in extremely hot climates, the hot pavement itself can even cause tire damage.
We think it makes sense to purchase an tire inflation kit that includes a reliable pressure gauge. And before any trip, especially lengthy ones, check for any unusual signs on your tires.
3. Juice up the Battery.
The heat can also wreak havoc with your car's battery. So check it before the temperature soars every summer. Make sure you have plenty of power running through your battery to take you through the season.
You can probably stop by your local auto parts store to get a quick check up. Or you can do it yourself by purchasing a relatively inexpensive kit. We think it makes sense to go ahead and get a battery charger. No car is complete without a set of jumper cables. But if you have a charger, you won't have to rely on a second vehicle. Even thought it's one of our summer car care tips, it could get you out of a bind any time of year.
Experts say that the heat is the number one reason batteries fail or wear out quicker. So be prepared by checking on yours before you get caught out in the heat with no power.
4. Prepare for a Summer Rainstorm.
Here's one of the easiest issues to test. If you saw streaks and smears last time you were caught in the rain, you already know. But a quick test will show you where you stand. We think it makes sense to check out your windshield wiper blades at least every season. If you live in an arid climate, a mix of drought and heat can be very damaging.
So before you get caught in a monsoon that comes out of nowhere, prepare your windshield. When the weather takes a sudden turn, it is vital that you have a clear view of the road ahead. Windshield wiper blades will help you go forward with confidence.
Like most of these products, it is vital that you get the right size for proper fit and performance. But you also want to pick a high quality product from a reliable company for long lasting coverage.
5. Consider Fresh Oil -- and a Filter, Too.
We mentioned coolant earlier, but oil is much more crucial to proper car performance. And the heat can mean trouble for how your car uses lubricants, too.
So we're sure you see your mechanic to have your oil changed regularly (or opt to do it yourself). But it doesn't hurt to check on the situation in between appointments. Make sure there aren't any signs of the heat's negative impact.
This might be more important on the filter side than the oil itself. If you're using the right automotive oil for your climate and car, you should be fine. But your filter is responsible for picking up anything that shouldn't be there. So if it is starting to become dirty or worn, it's best to nip that possible problem in the bud early.
6. Run a Test of Your AC System.
What's summer driving without a cool breeze? Maybe you have a classic car or don't really need to turn on the air conditioning system. But if you're reading a list of summer car care tips, chances are you could use it.
We don't recommend waiting until the summer has already set in before addressing this issue. By that time, it might be more costly and complicated to tackle any issues. Select the right type of refrigerant before doing anything. That's a key, just like it is to select the best fluids for all your car's functions.
Then check all the hoses and ducts to make sure there are no issues. If Freon is leaking or you see anything that needs attention, it's best to catch it early. Fix it and then you can put up the windows and forget about the rising mercury for a while.
Keeping your car up to speed in any season is just a matter of preparation.
We've included a few summer car care tips we live by every year. Hopefully you'll drive with a little more confidence knowing your vehicle can stand the heat.
If you enjoyed our list, share it with the road trippers in your life. And if you have a favorite tip or any final questions, leave us a message in the comments section below.
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