Summer sun and heat can be tough on your car or truck. Summertime is also known for family vacations and road trips. Keeping up with your car’s maintenance and making sure it’s protected against the challenges of summer may save you from getting stranded somewhere.
Your vehicle’s fluids like motor oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid should be checked regularly, either by you or by a professional. During the summer months, the most important fluid to monitor is the engine coolant, which is ironically also called antifreeze. Luckily, contemporary cars have a special closed-coolant system, which makes checking or adding coolant easy to do for car owners. If you decide to take care of the coolant yourself, make sure that the coolant level is above the minimum and below the maximum. Remember to never open the radiator cap or coolant tank lid while the engine is hot.
In addition to monitoring the coolant fluid level in your car, you should also check the condition of the hoses and the coolant reservoir. You need to look for leaks, especially where there are joints and connections. Furthermore, when the engine is cool, squeeze the hoses, making sure they feel firm and not overly soft. Aside from the coolant, you should check the oil, brake, power-steering, and windshield-washer fluids regularly. These car fluids are all necessary for the car’s proper functioning year-round.
The AC system in your car is especially necessary in the summer months. You may not have been thinking of it over the winter months, but now it’s time to check it. Using your air-conditioner in stop-and-go traffic can be a drain on fuel economy, but keeping the windows up and running the air-conditioner on the freeway improves the aerodynamics.
If your car’s AC system is not cooling, you likely have a leak in the system. If you have an older model car, you need to make sure that Freon isn’t leaking into the atmosphere. If there is not enough refrigerant in the system, then you can have it recharged. Ask a qualified mechanic to check your system and fix the leak before you have to pay to have the system recharged or to pay for a whole new system entirely.
Air expands as it heats, so in the summer months, it’s important to keep an eye on your tire pressure. Also, don’t be fooled by the maximum tire pressure on the sidewall. It’s best to go with the recommended tire pressure for your car. You can find the label in the door jamb or glove compartment, usually. When in doubt, there is always the owner’s manual. Generally speaking though, tires need to be checked year-round. Pressures need to be correct and you need to make sure that the tire treads are free of debris and don’t have cracks or uneven wear. And last, but not least, make sure your spare tire is in good condition.