Published: May 16, 2019 | Updated: May 22, 2020 | Posted by: Ricky Publico | Car Insurance
Summer’s here and you’re probably feeling the heat not only at home but also inside your car. With temperatures rising up to 42°C, driving your vehicle can be quite a challenge, especially during daytime. However, it’s not only you that’s suffering. Your vehicle experiences temperature changes as well, which may cause breakdowns and damages. Most of them aren’t visible so it’s important to check on your car before driving under the sun. Keep your car in tip-top shape this summer with this handy car maintenance checklist.
If you think being stuck in traffic is the worst this summer, think again. Imagine being stuck in traffic at high noon with a broken air conditioner. Sounds like hell, right? This season, ensure that your auto air conditioner is in good condition by doing a system check. Start by feeling the air coming out of the AC and assess how warm, cool, or cold it is. If the air is not too cold as it should be, there’s probably an airflow issue. Ask a car maintenance professional to check your air conditioning system to prevent further inconvenience.
When’s the last time you changed your oil? Take note of your oil changes because car oil works to keep your engine running smoothly. The oil lubricates the engine parts while the oil filter protects the engine from dirt and debris. The punishing summer heat can put a strain on your oil system so make sure to change your oil and oil filter as recommended by professionals. The usual interval is from at least 5,000 miles if you’re using an older model. But if your car was made in 2000 onwards, you can have it changed from at least 10,000 miles or as recommended by your car manufacturer.
Another reason for the increased temperature of your car is a broken radiator. Conduct a radiator test once in a while to check on your radiator’s health. Check your vehicle’s radiator pressure cap and overflow tank. Do you see any signs of leakage? Watch out because leaks on one of them will slowly decline your vehicle’s coolant, leading to air condition and engine failure. Check the overflow tank while your engine is cold; if the level is anywhere between the minimum and maximum level, then your vehicle is possibly working well.
Here’s another no-brainer for your car maintenance checklist. Make sure to park your car indoors to avoid the sun. However, if you can’t find an indoor parking spot, park in shaded areas instead. Exposing your dashboard to sunlight will discolor and deteriorate its surface, while too much heat will scorch your steering wheel. It’s also smart to invest on a reflective sunshade to keep your car from becoming a sweltering sauna. And if you know your way around your place, parking in a shaded area won’t even cost you anything.
Imagine if your battery died on you while you’re stuck in yet another traffic jam. Too much heat can speed up the chemical reaction inside your battery and dramatically shorten its lifespan. It can also damage your battery by evaporating internal fluid. Prevent these from happening by keeping your battery clean. Regularly detach and clean its cables, and make sure to secure all connections after. If the caps are removable, you should also check the fluid levels of your battery. Otherwise, you can ask a professional to do so.
Smelly car seats are common during summertime. Heat, sweat, and your air conditioner’s vapor can build up bacteria, mold, and spores easily giving your seats a foul smell. Invest in a car deodorizer to keep it fresh and fragrant. Wash and clean your car at least once a week to minimize interior damage and to prevent dust and dirt from scratching your vehicle’s surface. No one really wants to ride a car with stinky seats, especially if the trip is a long one. By cleaning your car’s interior, you’ll be doing yourself and your passengers a huge favor.
Sizzling roads do no good to your tires; they just make them prone to under inflation and external damage. Beware of this. You don’t want your tires to blow out in the middle of a trip, right? Always check your tire pressure and watch out for materials such as stones and nails that can damage your tire tread. Always keep your tires in good condition; make sure there are no cracks, no uneven wear, and there is plenty of tread depth. If you want to be smart about it, you can invest on an extra tire in case of road emergencies.
Hot temperatures and low coolant levels make your engine prone to overheating. Don’t let this happen. A broken down vehicle in the middle of nowhere isn’t a summer adventure, so keep your engine cool and your coolant levels moderate. Also, always check for symptoms of an overheated engine such as rising temperature gauge, warning lights, and steam billowing out from the hood. If you see any of these signs while on the road, pull over to a safe place, turn off the engine, and wait for your vehicle to cool down before fully opening the hood.
The scorching heat of the summer season will require you to double down on car maintenance. That’s why it’s important to prepare a car maintenance checklist before your summer vacation trip. Not only will it make your car look brand new, but it will also keep you safe on the road. If you need further help, only take your vehicle to accredited car shops to ensure its performance. Being mindful of your car’s condition in this scorching heat will keep you cool this summer, literally and figuratively.