Preparing Your Vehicle for Summer: 5 Helpful Tips

car care tips for summer

The hot summer weather can damage a vehicle in more ways than one. The humidity alone can cause a lot of problems, not to mention the higher temperatures.

Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to prepare your car to deal with the summer heat. Most of the maintenance tips listed below are things that you should already be performing regularly. 

However, for summer preparedness, make sure to do these checks during the spring.

Inspect the Cooling System

A car’s cooling system has several components, which include the radiator, the coolant or antifreeze, the water pump, and several belts and hoses. 

All of the above parts work together to keep your engine at the right operating temperature. However, you need to pay particular attention to the radiator and the coolant.

Make sure to refill and change the coolant regularly to prevent corrosion in the radiator. Insufficient coolant can also cause your engine to overheat. Check the owner’s manual of your vehicle for the ideal schedule for refilling and changing the coolant.

For the radiator, regular flushing is recommended. This is to remove the debris caused by corrosion (brought about by old, dirty antifreeze) and restore the effective circulation of the coolant. Make sure to also remove obstructions such as leaves and other road debris to ensure proper airflow. 

If any part of the cooling system is damaged, replace them immediately. It’s a good idea to find a trusted auto parts supplier even before you need to buy parts. This way, you already know where to go should something bad happen. 

Check the Tyres

Extreme heat and temperature changes can wreak havoc to tyre pressure. This can make existing problems worse, and it can even affect the ride quality. Look for cracks and bumps, particularly on the sides and near the treads.

Speaking of treads, you should also inspect them to make sure that they aren’t worn. Hot asphalt can cause the treads to wear down faster, so make it a habit to inspect more often during the summer. 

Lastly, don’t forget to rotate your tyres when necessary, following the correct orientation and pattern.

Change the Oil

Your car’s engine needs proper lubrication in order to run smoothly. In short, you need to change the oil regularly to prevent the engine from malfunctioning and overheating. 

Again, check the owner’s manual for the ideal oil change schedule. If it isn’t indicated, the best thing to do is change the oil approximately every 4,800 kilometres.

If you drive more frequently and in more demanding conditions, you may need to change the engine oil more often. Check the oil’s colour and texture, too. 

The key thing to remember is that motor oil that’s too thick or too dark is due for a change.

Get a Sunshade or a Car Cover (or Park in a Covered Space)

Leaving your car out in the sun can damage both its interior and exterior. From cracked and faded paint to blown-out tyres, sun exposure is definitely a bad thing for a vehicle. 

The best thing to do is to park your car in a covered garage or storage unit for long-term parking. If this isn’t possible, buy a tarp or a car cover to protect your car while parked for an indefinite period.

If you’re using your car regularly but need to park in an exposed lot (e.g., a supermarket’s parking space), a sunshade will do wonders. Get a couple of options so you can cover both the front and back windshields when necessary.

Maintain the Air Conditioner

There are a few worse things than driving in a car with busted air conditioning in hot weather. 

Keep it in good shape so it can keep you cool in the summer. Inspect the condenser and make sure there’s nothing that blocks the airflow. Check the compressor belt as well, ensuring proper tension and that there aren’t any cracks or tears. 

You also need the right amount of freon to achieve sufficient cooling. If there are leaks, have a mechanic repair or replace seals and hoses accordingly.

You should also check if all the vents are blowing air and if all the fan speeds are working. In addition, perform a simple “sniff test” to determine the cleanliness of your car’s air conditioning. 

There shouldn’t be any foul, musty smells; if there are, then have things checked and cleaned as soon as possible. And finally, you need to change the air filter to ensure that you get optimum cooling and air circulation. 

Most drivers will need to change the filter after about 16,000 to 20,000 kilometres. This interval can be shorter if you often drive in dusty environments.

As you can see, preparing your car for the heat of summer is not too complicated. Make sure to follow these tips to ensure your driving comfort. You’ll also save yourself the trouble of constant breakdowns and costly repairs. 

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