A lot of car owners believe that once winter passes their care car stops. But, the truth is the scorching heat of summer can be especially hard on a car. As a result, you can expect your dedication to your car’s health to rise along with the temperatures. Want to keep your car running without problems this summer? Try these ten summer car care tips.
#1: Keep an Eye Out on Your Cooling System
In the summer, you rely on your car’s cooling system to keep you nice and cool, so you want to ensure that it remains operational. You will always want to make sure that the coolant liquid in both your radiator and the coolant reservoir are at their appropriate levels. You should also keep an eye out for any coolant leaks and when the car is cool, squeeze the hoses entering and exiting the radiator. Good hoses should feel firm. If they are soft or squishy, then it is time to replace them.
#2: Check the Engine Belts
In the summertime, excessive heat can make your car’s belts more at risk for breaking. Sometimes, before a belt breaks it will start squealing, so if your belts are squealing when your car is running, then it is time to get them checked. You can also do a touch test when the car is cool. Simply touch the belts to see if they are loose or if there is a lot of give in them. Take a look at the belts as well to look for signs of cracking or parts of the belt’s rubber missing.
#3: Keep All Fluid Levels Topped Off
The coolant isn’t the only fluid your car needs to keep running safely. You should also check your oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and the windshield washer fluid. Make sure they are all topped off, but if your brake fluid is especially low, then it might be time to check your brakes because they might be wearing down.
#4: Check Your Tires
In the summer, you can literally cook an egg on the asphalt so you can imagine what that heat is doing to your tires. Make sure your tires are in good condition with plenty of tread depth and no cracks, no nails, and no stones in the treads. You will also want to ensure that all of your tires are at their recommended air pressure so your MPG doesn’t suffer. Most cars have this information on a sticker located on the driver’s door jamb but some have it on the inside of the fuel door.
#5: Know the Signs and Symptoms of an Overheated Engine
Engines are most at risk of overheating in the summer, so it is important to know the signs and symptoms associated with an overheated engine. If your car’s temperature gauge starts rising, warning lights start showing up on your dash, or steam starts billowing from the engine, you should immediately pull over to a safe place and turn the car off so it can cool back down. Wait at least a half hour before you open the hood. The first thing you should check is the coolant reservoir. If the reservoir is low, simply adding more coolant to it might do the trick, but if it is entirely empty, then you probably have a coolant leak and this will require professional assistance.
#6: Dealing with Odd Smells
In the summer, your car will take on odd smells that will plague you every time you turn it on. The smells can come from anything, including the beach, your sweat, or from food that was left in your car. Once you find the cause, get rid of the odor-causing culprit and clean up your car. For even more deodorizing, try taping fabric softener sheets over your AC vents. This will fill your car with a clean scent. Keeping a box of sheets and a roll of scotch tape in your car is always a good idea in the summer so you can deal with odors as they occur.
#7: Preventing a Hot Steering Wheel
If you hate burning your hands on a blistering hot steering wheel, here’s a tip that works – when you park your car, turn the steering wheel 180 degrees before you turn the engine off. This way, when you return to your car, you can turn your steering wheel back to center and the part you’ll be touching will be much cooler because it was kept away from the sun.
#8: Replace the Air Filter if Necessary
During winter, a car’s air filter can get clogged by all manner of debris. So, before summer hits, take a look at your air filter and replace it if it is substantially dirty. If your car is a model that also has pollen filters or cabin filtration systems, then now would be a good time to check and replace them as well if necessary.
#9: Check Your Windshield Wipers
Just because it is summer doesn’t mean you won’t experience a shower while you’re out on the road. So, your windshield wipers need to be in good shape. Windshield wipers that are cracked or worn away will create streaks on the windshield and in some cases, even cause scratches that can’t be removed. Wipers are easy to replace, but if you don’t feel confident enough to do it yourself, make it a habit to have your mechanic check your wipers every time you take your car in for an oil change.
#10: Invest in a Sunshade
A sunshade placed on your front window and the back window will help keep the interior of your car substantially cooler if you haven’t driven your car in a while. As a side benefit, the sunshade will also help reduce the risk of a discolored dashboard or seats because it prevents the sun’s color-diminishing UV rays from entering your car.
Keeping your car running cool and smooth in the summer requires extra care and attention, but by simply following the above ten tips, your car will reward you with greater reliability and comfort all season long.