Summertime is here, which means the sun is shining down in full force and the temperature is climbing. And, that means it’s time to conduct a summer car checkup to make sure everything is functioning properly to keep you and your car cool and safe. It doesn’t take long to perform these summer vehicle safety tips, and they could save you a lot of aggravation and repair costs by preventing problems caused by excessive heat and insufficient fluid levels.
Check the air conditioning.
Your air conditioning probably hasn’t been used in four to six months, so it’s a good idea to test it out before the weather gets too hot. Run the unit with the engine on to see if it blows cold. Be alert for any strange noises or the smell of unpleasant odors. If you notice any problems, have your mechanic give the air conditioning unit a thorough inspection and make any necessary repairs.
Inspect the wiper fluid and wiper blades.
If you use your wiper fluid to de-ice the windshield during the winter, don’t be surprised if it’s low when summer comes around. It only takes a minute or two to check the fluid level in the wiper reservoir and top it off if necessary. Inspect the condition of your wiper blades as well. The last thing you want is to get caught in an unsuspecting, heavy summer rainstorm with wipers that don’t provide clear vision through the windshield.
Check the engine cooling system.
Car engines are more likely to overheat during the summer, but you can prevent this by keeping the cooling system in good shape. Experts recommend flushing and refilling your coolant system every 24 months. In between, check the level and condition of the coolant on a regular basis.
Switch to summer tires.
If you install snow tires on your car during the winter, you can save money on gas and get better handling by replacing them with summer tires. Monitor the air pressure on a regular basis to keep your tires properly inflated. This will provide better traction on hot roads and reduce the risk of a blowout.
Inspect the brakes.
Hot weather can increase the temperature of your brake system, causing the brake pads to wear out more quickly. Summer rainstorms can also cause your brakes to be less responsive. If you haven’t replaced the pads within the past two years, have them checked by a brake specialist to make sure they’re not too worn.
Perform a battery inspection.
Batteries are not overly susceptible to problems in hot weather, but they can fail any time of year. As long as you’re under the hood checking fluids, belts and other areas, it pays to inspect the battery as well. Remove any corrosion from the posts and cable connections, clean all surfaces and tighten all connections. A few extra minutes could save you from getting stranded a long way from home on a hot summer day because your battery won’t start.
Check your brake fluid.
No matter the season, checking brake fluid levels should be a part of every car checkup. However, unlike oil or engine coolant, do not top off brake fluid on your own. Brake fluid levels will often drop to match the wear on your pads, but low levels could also indicate a leak in the brake system. When the brake fluid is low, play it safe and take your car to have it professionally inspected.
Wash and wax the exterior.
Salt, snow, and sludge take a toll on your car’s paint job during the winter, and hot, dry, dusty weather makes it even worse during the summer. To protect car paint and keep your car looking good, give it a thorough washing and waxing, or have it professionally detailed at your local auto body shop.