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5 Summer Car Maintenance Tips

last updated December 1, 2017 by

With summer fast approaching and as schedules and calendars begin to fill with travel plans, it is important that your vehicle be ready to tackle the miles of road ahead. Here are 7 ways you can ensure your vehicle is summer-travel ready before you hit the road.

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1. Tires

After months of being exposed to cold, wet weather, it is important that your tires be ready to embrace new weather and travel conditions. Because your brakes are some of the most important safety features on your car, it pays to have them checked or replaced to ensure the safety of you and your passengers.

While you’re checking the brakes, check your tire pressure as well. Tire pressure changes with the surrounding temperatures, so it is wise to get them check with this drastic change in seasons. Under and over inflated tires can both have serious implications for your vehicle’s safety, so don’t hesitate to stop in at your local service shop for a quick check up.

2. Air Conditioning

Losing your air conditioning on a hot summer day makes any drive a miserable one. One of the best ways for you to know if your vehicle’s conditioning unit needs repairs is if it struggles to maintain temperatures that are about 50 Fahrenheit degrees below the outside air. A common problem with air conditioning units are cracks or bad seals in the system that allow coolant to leak out. Taking your vehicle for a check up and repairs can help remove the threat of a stuffy and sweaty car ride.

3. Coolant and Radiator

It’s a well known fact that cars are supposed to run hot. Running too hot however, can cause metal parts to melt and fuse together, causing serious internal damage that is expensive to repair. During hot summer weather, it is especially important that your coolant and radiator systems be prepared to take the heat.

Before hitting the road, pop the hood and check your coolant levels. If your levels are low, or you discover coolant puddles beneath your vehicle, your system might have a leak that needs to be repaired. Another great step is to flush your coolant system every two years with a special chemical. This will help your radiator and cooling system to run better.

4. Air Filter

Salt and other thick debris can clog up your air filter during the winter. Replacing an old or filthy air filter can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, so inspecting its condition before you travel can help to make your summer adventures more affordable.

5. Oil and Filter

A vehicle’s oil is what keeps your engine parts clean, cool, and running smoothly. Oil that is not changed regularly poses a threat to your vehicle and could allow it to overheat, especially on hot summer car trips. Check the oil dipstick to see if the levels are right and if the color and texture is good. If the levels are low, go ahead and either add another quart or have an oil change done. Oil that is a dark color and that contains dirt or grime should prompt an oil change and filter replacement.