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Summer Tips for Your Car

Summertime is approaching, a time for travel, whether you're going on vacation or simply out taking a spin and enjoying the warm weather.

Whatever the reason you're out and about, don't forget one of the most important aspects of your summer plans - your car.

Sure, with all the vacation planning and fun activities planned, car maintenance is probably the furthest thing from your mind, but a mechanical problem can quickly and easily turn an otherwise fun day into a nightmare, especially if you're far from home or stuck in sweltering traffic.

By taking your car's maintenance into account during your vacation planning, and possibly even taking an afternoon off to check some things out yourself, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

Seasonal Car Tune-Up

If your car is due for a tune-up, bring it in to your mechanic before you depart for any vacation destinations. If you had a tune-up before winter, there may be several things that need to be undone before your car is ready for the summer. Typically, a pre-summer tune-up consists of the following:

  • inspect the battery to make sure all connections are tight and it can carry a charge
  • oil change and air filter replacement
  • clean fuel injectors and if necessary, change the fuel filter
  • change or adjust the spark plugs
  • inspect the distribution
  • inspect the brakes, exhaust system, drive belt and timing belt
  • inspect the cooling system and radiator
  • check and replace fluids (transmission, coolant, brake fluid, etc)
  • check and flush hoses
  • check belts for cracking
  • remove winter tires

Things To Look Out For

(1) The Cooling System
The cooling system works overtime during the summer to keep the engine from overheating. Make sure your radiator is in working order, that the inside hasn't become corroded, and that it holds the correct ratio of coolant and water (most cars take a 50/50 ratio). Making sure your cooling system is in order will help prevent a costly breakdown.

(2) The Tires
A lot of travel means a lot of wear and tear on your car's tires and it's important to maintain tire pressure - properly pumped tires give the best contact grip, steadiness, and speed, but improperly pumped tires can lead to punctures and flats. Since summer heat causes the pressure in tires to increase, you'll have to take the tire pressure when the tires are cold. Refer to your owner's manual to determine what the proper tire pressure is for your vehicle.

(3) The Oil
Oil is an essential component to keeping your car running efficiently - it keeps the engine parts running clean, smooth, and cool. Your vehicle's owner manual will recommend what kind of oil to use during the summer, but as a standard, an oil with more viscosity is used during the summer months.

(4) The Battery
Excessive heat during the summer months can damage your car battery. Having your mechanic inspect and service the battery will let you know if it's time to install a new one - generally, buying a new battery every 3-4 years will save you a lot of time and frustration later on.