It seems to sneak up on us every year, and yes, it was just a few weeks ago when I was in the midst of a rare arctic blast, but suddenly we look up and for many, the thermometer is hitting triple digits. For some people, depending on locale, that first 100-degree day is the start of a string of hot days that lasts for months. This is a tough time of year for your car, but there are things you can do to help your car get through the summer season.
1. Check A/C
Have your air conditioning system checked, many repair shops do this at no charge or a very nominal fee. It is not uncommon for some freon to leak out during the winter, which will cause your compressor to overwork itself.
2. Check Battery
Another no cost or low cost thing to have checked is your battery. Hot weather will often knock out a weak battery, and if you have it checked, you know exactly how much life is left. It is much cheaper to have the test performed than to pay for a wrecker when it completely fails.
3. Check Coolant
Check your coolant and make sure it is fresh and up to the proper level. Not making sure of this when it is hot outside can cause you a lot of problems and expense.
4. Check Tires
Another big thing is tires. Hot roads are hard on tires, which is why you see so much loose rubber on our highways. Tires are held together by glue and we all know what happens when glue gets overheated. Make sure you have the proper amount of tread and if you do, make sure you have the proper air pressure. You will find the air pressures usually on the inside of the driverís door. Remember too, you canít tell by looking if a tire is low, get yourself a gauge or have a tire store check the pressure for you. This could save your life or the life of a loved one.
5. Check Wiper Blades
If you have not done so in the past year, go ahead and replace those windshield wiper blades. The hot sun will deteriorate wiper blades, they are made of rubber. This can be a real safety issue when those summer storms pop up, and most people can do this themselves.
6. Check Hoses and Belts
Check your belts and hoses under the hood. Again, more rubber products and heat is hard on them. You can have a professional do it, or you can eyeball them for cracks or small cuts. Once again, it is cheaper to have these replaced when your car is still operating than when you are stuck on the side of the road somewhere.
7. Top off Fluids
While you are under the hood, or having your car checked by a certified technician, top off the fluids. Fluids are critical when the temperature outside rises. This is a great preventative measure to make sure your car operates as it is supposed to.
8. Protect Your Paint
Last, if you havenít done it, get a coat of wax on your paint. We donít have the oxidation issues with paint we once did, but wax will do a good job in protecting your factory finish or the clear coat on top of the paint if applicable. This should be done especially if you regularly use automatic car washes, which tend to put light, surface scratches on your car.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to getting your car ready for summer. If you have never had the pleasure of breaking down on the side of the road when itís over 100 degrees outside, let me tell you it is not pleasant or safe. Doing the things I outlined for you could prevent that.