Summer Loving...for Your Car

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Summer Loving...for Your Car

Summer is definitely not the time you want to be stranded either without your car, or in your car.  The heat can be unkind to car and passenger alike.  But, never fear!  There are things you can do that will make sure your car is purring like a kitten all summer long.

Hydrate!

Fluids like motor oil, coolant, and windshield washer fluid should be checked regularly, either by you or your mechanic. The car equivalent of dehydration is just as bad as you getting dehydrated.  During the summer months, the most important fluid to monitor is the engine coolant, which is ironically also called antifreeze (yeah, we don’t quite get it either). Luckily, modern cars have a special closed-coolant system, which makes checking or adding coolant pretty easy to do on your own. Just make sure the coolant level is above the minimum and below the maximum and NEVER, ever,  open the radiator cap or coolant tank lid while the engine is hot.  

You should also check the condition of the hoses and the coolant reservoir...look for leaks, especially where there are joints and connections. 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. You need these year round.

Climate Control Please...

Really though...how many of you remember what it was like without AC in the car?  Well, if you don’t maintain your AC, you’ll have a hot blast from the past. Using your AC in stop-and-go traffic can be a drain on fuel, but keeping your windows up and running the AC on the freeway actually improves the aerodynamics.

Now, if you have the AC on but it’s 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 (very environmentally unfriendly). If there isn’t enough refrigerant in the system, then you can have it recharged. Get your system checked and any leaks fixed before you have to pay to have the system recharged, or have to pay for a whole new system entirely.

Tread on Me...

Rolling, rolling, rolling...Air expands as it heats, so during the summer it’s important to check your tire pressure (and it’s best to go with the recommended tire pressure for your car).  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.

Wear Sunscreen!

Believe it or not, that advice goes for your car as well as your skin.  It’s best to keep your car cool even when you’re not driving it in general, but the summer sun can cause damage to your car’s paint job and make it harder to cool off inside (hellishly hot steering wheel, anyone?).

Protect your paint and interior by parking in shade if possible.  If you’re under a tree though, make sure to wash off the sap and bird poop (which can damage your paint further). Waxing your car using a polish with UV protection can reduce sun damage (basically sunscreen for your car). Protect the interior, too.  A sunshade goes a long way in protecting the interior of your vehicle from damaging UV rays and excessive heat (which can actually crack leather when there’s enough of a temperature fluctuation).


Publish Date: 07/28/2016
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