A Houston listener asked last week about getting his car ready for summer driving. It seems to sneak up on us every year. Suddenly we look up and for many, it’s summer and 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 summer days that lasts for months, for others, August brings the hottest temps. Either way, this is 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 the Air Conditioner and Battery
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, which will cause your compressor to overwork itself. 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.
2. Check Coolant
Make sure your coolant 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.
3. Check the 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 driver’s door. Remember too, you can’t 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.
4. Replace Wiper Blades
If you have not done so in the past year, go ahead and replace those windshield wipers 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.
5. Check Belts and Hoses
Check your belts and hoses under the hood. Again, more rubber products and heat are 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.
6. 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.
7. Get a Wax Coat
Last, if you haven’t done it, get a coat of wax on your paint. We don’t have the oxidation issues with paint we once did, but wax will do a good job in protecting your factory finish or the clearcoat 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 it’s over 100 degrees outside, let me tell you it is not pleasant or safe. Doing the things I outlined for you could prevent that.
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