Summer is finally here! Longer days, warmer weather and spending more time outside. We take precautions from the sun and heat when we’re outside, but what about our cars? Did you know that the sun and heat can cause serious damage to your vehicle, too? Here are some tips to help you care for your ride this summer:
- Make sure your car’s cooling system is completely flushed and refilled every 24 months, and the levels, condition and concentration of the coolant are checked periodically.
- Oil and oil filters should also be changed based on your car’s owner’s manual. (Changing the oil and filters every 3,000 miles is a good rule of thumb).
- Keep your windshield clean and replace worn wiper blades. Be sure to check for plenty of wiper fluid in the reservoir, too.
- Look at your tires and make sure to check the pressure at least once a month. When you do check, make sure the tires are cooled down and always rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to ensure even wear.
- Check for changes in the way your brake pedals feel and take your car for repairs immediately if you hear scraping or grinding noises.
- Remove dirt and insects from your lights and make sure all bulbs are working. Tip: to prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
- Have a professional technician look at your car’s air conditioning system. A marginally operating system can fail in hot weather. Newer car models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system.
On the road and in the sun
- Keep an eye on your car’s temperature. If you see that it’s getting overheated, you can turn on your car’s heater to pull the air away from the engine to the passenger compartment of the vehicle.
- During long trips, try to target your driving times for the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.
- When you park your car, try to find a shady spot and crack your window slightly. Leaving your windows cracked an inch will create enough space to vent the hot summer air.
- Be sure to never leave children or pets in the car, even for a quick errand. A car’s interior temperature can heat up from 78 to 100 degrees in less than three minutes.
- Update your car’s emergency kit. While you might need that parka and snow brush for the winter, they won’t do any good for the summer heat. Here’s a sample list of items to include in your summer car emergency kit, in addition to your normal car emergency kit:
- Water: one gallon, plus one bottle per person
- Sunscreen, bug spray and hat -- you might have to be outside of your car
- Blanket: keep this in your car to use for shade
- First-aid kit