In summer, you have to regularly check and maintain the mechanical components of the car to tackle the rigors of the hot summer conditions. High temperatures, stop-and-go traffic, oversized loads and extended use of the air conditioner all puts a burden on your car.
Here are 10 must-do services that will help keep your car on the road this summer.
1. Have the A/C Serviced
Over time, the A/C can slowly leak refrigerant, causing the compressor to operate for longer periods than usual and put added strain on your engine. If your A/C doesn’t feel as cool as it once did, have it checked out by a qualified mechanic
2. Replace Coolant
The coolant and water mixture for a vehicle’s radiator should measure 50:50. Keeping fresh antifreeze in the coolant system is very important. Old coolant can develop a slight electric charge that can cause premature corrosion inside your engine and radiator.
3. Check The Battery
On average, a battery will last anywhere from two to three years depending on build quality. If the battery in your car is older than that, it’s only a matter of time before it leaves you stranded. As a battery ages, it keeps less and less of a charge, causing the alternator to work harder.
4. Rotate Your Tires
You should have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles, and check the pressure of your tires once a month. As road temperatures increase, so will the pressure in your tires. Take the time to look for any dry rot, large bumps in the sidewalls or uneven wear. These indicate a serious problem.
5. Replace Windshield Wipers
Wiper blades should be replaced every 6 to 12 months for optimum performance and driving visibility. Windshield wipers experience the absolute worst that the elements can throw at them such as exposure to ultraviolet rays. The rays degrade rubber quickly, making your wipers worthless.
6. Examine All Hoses
Under severe heat the coolant system will be under increased pressure to keep everything the right temperature. Take the time to look over the hoses in the engine bay. There shouldn’t be any cracks, cuts or odd bulges. If you see a problem have it fixed quickly and save yourself from frustration on the side of the road.
7. Eyeball All Belts
Large fluctuations in temperature can wreak havoc on old or worn belts. Things like your air conditioning, power steering or charging system will not operate as efficiently as they should be. You can also test belt tension by pressing down on a suspended section of the belt with the engine off. If the belt moves more than a quarter-inch, it’s time for a replacement.
8. Make Sure Fog Lights Work
Fog can significantly impair visibility and reduce your car headlights effectiveness. Check the bulbs by turning on your headlights and pressing the fog-light button. The light should shine evenly down the road in front of the vehicle, not off to one side and not very far ahead.
9. Replace All Fluids
For maximum protection, oil companies recommend to change the oil every 3,000 miles or 3 to 6 months regardless of what type of driving you do. Everything should be at the proper level and the appropriate color. Your oil should be a honey-brown to brown color, while the transmission and power-steering fluid should be bright red. Your brake fluid should be clear to yellow.
10. Wash, Polish and Wax
The summer sun and heat are harsh on your car’s paint. Sweltering temperatures, road grime and intensive ultraviolet rays combine to do a number on metal and paint. While a good car wash is a solid place to start, most experts recommend a good polishing four times a year to clear contaminants and reduce the chance of oxidation. Follow the polish with a high-quality automotive wax to help seal microscopic cracks in the paint and protect the finish from the summer heat.