Summer Car Maintenance: What to do Before & During Hot Months

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 05/10/2022 - 12:52

Summer temperatures and driving conditions can take a toll on your vehicle, and this puts you at risk of being stranded just when you depend on your car, truck, or SUV the most.

Here's what to do to get ready for summer, plus what needs to be done during the hot months to ensure you'll be in good shape all summer long.

Do this Before Summer Begins

If you’re like most of us in the Treasure Valley, in spring you have already started to feel the heat. Your vehicle has too! So what can you do to help ensure that all your vehicle’s systems and components stay summer-ready and available for whatever road trips or adventures you have planned?

DON’T DELAY THAT OIL CHANGE ANY LONGER

Make sure you have your oil and oil filter changed, by a car-care expert who knows the correct oil type and weight for your car and at intervals, it needs to be changed. Clean oil and a clean filter are essential to maintaining the operating life of your engine and keeping it cool during the summer months.

MONITOR YOUR TIRES (AND TIRE PRESSURE)

Temperature fluctuations, hot pavement, and the longer hours on the road can all have an impact on the life of your tires. Make sure that you have the tire pressure checked and adjusted if need be, as well as your tread-depth or any other issues that may have arisen prior to setting out to conquer the open road.

HAVE YOUR FLUIDS CHECKED

With special attention paid to your coolant levels, make sure to have all the vital fluids that your vehicle depends on to run reliably checked by a professional. Fluids that may need to be checked include your brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, refrigerant for your A/C, and more. Even running out of windshield washer fluid can be a real pain when you’re on the road, so have them all checked and filled today.

HAVE YOUR BATTERY TESTED

Many drivers may not be aware that the summer months are even harder on your battery than winter ones. Evaporation and oxidation both have a big impact on your battery, and can cause a total failure that can leave you stranded. Make sure that you have your battery tested by a car care expert to avoid any surprises down the road.

BRAKE CHECK

Stop-and-go driving and heat can really put your brakes through their paces. And since nothing is more important than safely stopping, make sure that you have your brakes and their related components checked and serviced. Especially if they are making noise, if you feel any strange sensations, or if they just don’t feel right, get your vehicle in to be serviced as soon as possible.

GET EVERYTHING STRAIGHTENED OUT

If your car is pulling to one side, the steering wheel vibrates, or is off-center you may have an alignment issue. When your alignment is off, it can impact your steering, braking, fuel economy, as well as the life of your tires. Now is a great time to get your alignment checked and corrected, just in time for that epic summer road trip.

Do this During the Summer Months

Summer can be as hard on a car as the winter months. During the warm season, there are a number of ways you can make the hot weather easier on your car to minimize the amount of wear it puts on your vehicle.

TIRE MAINTENANCE

Tires can take particularly hard wear in the summer. If any of your tires are low, they are at risk for overheating and blowing out. This is an even bigger risk on hot days that have heated up the road to high temperatures. Never drive in the summer with under-inflated tires. Every month, perform a pressure check on each tire. It is common for tires to lose a pound of pressure every month with normal driving. When checking the pressure, allow the tires to cool down for a more effective pressure reading. Keep your tires at the recommended pressure detailed in the manufacturer's manual.

CHECK YOUR FLUIDS

Many of the fluids your car uses are used to cool various systems and keep them from overheating. If any of these fluids are too low, they will not be able to effectively cool them. As part of your regular car maintenance, it's important to check those fluids regularly during the summer to ensure that no fluids are low. Be sure to check the motor oil, as well as the steering fluid, the transmission fluid, and the brake fluid for any loss. Always refill them with the fluid types that are recommended by the manufacturer.

CURB ENGINE HEAT

In the summer, the heat generated by the engine can be exacerbated by the high temperatures outside. With this comes the risk of an overheating engine. To prevent this from happening, flush out the cooling system during the summer season. You can look at the instructions from the car's manufacturer to find out how to do this properly, but we recommend having a professional perform this maintenance as a part of a more comprehensive service on your car's cooling system. In between the system flushes, check the coolant to make sure it is full enough to help handle the heat. When you do this, look at the drive belts and the hoses, using the manufacturer's instructions, to make sure that the summer heat hasn't caused any cracks or other damage.

The safety and reliability of your vehicle is something that you should take very seriously, not just during the summer months, but all year long. And that means, don’t trust your car care needs to just anyone.

If you are getting ready to hit the road and are in need of expert car care, Naylor’s provides full-service auto repair and preventative maintenance for everything that you drive.

Schedule an appointment today!