Just like with cold weather, warmer temps can affect many aspects of your vehicle. As we transition to (hopefully) better weather it’s important to be aware of what challenges the heat presents so you can take needed precautions and stay safe on the road this summer. To help, we’ve compiled this summer weather vehicle maintenance checklist to help ensure your vehicle is ready to beat the heat!
Summer Weather Vehicle Maintenance Checklist
During the summer, it’s a good idea to have your tire pressure checked often, or purchasing a tire pressure gauge and monitoring it yourself. Tires on your vehicle expand when exposed to heat, and during the hot summer months, the asphalt you drive on absorbs that heat creating the perfect environment for a flat or, in the worst case, a tire blowout, which is extremely dangerous and costly. Make sure your tire pressure is in sync with the number inside your door jamb (which most vehicle manufacturers include) or refer to your owner’s manual.
Heat also tends to have a degrading effect on rubber. Tires are made from synthetic and natural rubber compounds that are full of oils that keep them flexible. As they age, heat and friction with the road can dry the oils out and cause the rubber to become brittle. If your tires are old, it’s probably a good idea to have an automotive service technician replace them ahead of a hot-weather season.
The strain on a vehicle’s battery is increased during the summer due to the increased load from the fans and air conditioning system. Hot weather can shorten your battery’s life significantly because it accelerates corrosion. Have an auto mechanic clean the corrosive buildup around your battery’s terminals and tighten up your clamps to make sure the connection is solid. Additionally, higher-temperature weather can cause your battery fluid to evaporate faster.
Oil and Fluids
Oil: Monitoring your car’s fluids is always important, but it’s especially crucial during the summer. A hot engine needs lubrication, so keeping on top of engine oil changes is especially important during the summer months. Be sure to change the oil at regular intervals and use the oil viscosity recommended in the owner’s manual for your car.
Other fluids: In addition to oil and coolant, check your transmission fluid and power steering fluid at recommended intervals.
Coolant: Regularly check the coolant levels to ensure healthy levels so you don’t end up with an overheated engine on the road. Low coolant levels can literally kill your engine. Worn hoses or a damaged radiator can allow coolant to leak and engine temperatures to rise. Keep an especially close eye on your vehicle’s temperature gauge during summer months to prevent overheating. Optimally, the system should be flushed and coolant replaced periodically, especially during the hotter months.
Another key item to check off of your summer weather vehicle maintenance checklist is your A/C. Using the air conditioner every day during the summer can take a toll on its performance since it uses power from the engine to keep the cabin cool. One way to help is to replace air filters. In addition to eliminating extra work for the A/C, doing this will create better air quality, remove extra odors from the vehicle, and eliminate pollutants.
Belts and Hoses
These important pieces need to be in good shape in order to maintain the safe, healthy functioning of your car. A broken or leaking belt or hose can lead to loss of steering control, an overheated radiator, or engine failure that can result in a breakdown. Have an auto repair expert check for wear and functionality of belts, pulleys, and tensioners prior to your summer trip.
Wiper blades can actually melt to your windshield in high heat. The best way to prevent this is to put your wipers through a wipe-wash cycle from time to time.
One last note…if you have any cracks in your windshield or windows, consider getting them fixed, as they can grow and become bigger problems when exposed to direct sunlight.
We hope this summer weather vehicle maintenance checklist helps get you prepped for summer. Having the systems most susceptible to hot weather checked by an auto repair expert can save you money and prevent excessive wear and tear this summer. For peace of mind, Request an appointment with our expert technicians at Beetlesmith’s Valley Auto Service in Renton today!