Summer Car Maintenance Tips
Summer calls for travel! Whether you’re flying or driving to your destination, it’s always a good idea to have your car serviced when there’s a drastic change in weather. The heat and extended use of your car can be damaging. Some of this damage includes broken air conditioners, low tire pressure, dirty air filters, and ineffective windshield wipers. These outcomes can lower your gas mileage, or even lead to a full-blown breakdown. Since the summer months are much warmer than the climate your car’s been used to, there are several things to have a professional look at.
Did you know that only one in ten drivers checks the tire pressure the right way on his or her tires? Checking to make sure your tires have the proper amount of inflation at the start of the summer season is so important. The heat forces the rubber and air inside your tires to expand. When there’s a 10-degree change in temperature, your tire pressure changes by one to two PSI (pounds per square inch). Low tire pressure can lead to using more gas than you need to, costing you more than necessary. If your tire pressure goes unchecked, you also run the risk of completely blowing out your tire. On the other hand, high tire pressure can cause your car to hydroplane when it’s raining. If you neglect your tires, that lack of action can affect your car balance, mileage, and steering, to name a few.
The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recommends getting your tire rotation done every 5,000 miles your car travels. Taking your car to a professional for this service is a good idea since there may be further maintenance that needs to be done. This maintenance would include any issues with tire alignment or balancing.
Oil and Filter Change
It’s suggested that you change your oil and filter every 3,000-7,500 miles. Professionals recommend this maintenance is done more frequently while most owner manuals lean closer to 7,500 miles. Either way, the summer season typically entails lots of driving, and thus, more opportunities for your car’s engine to overheat. If you do decide to change your own oil though, make sure you recycle it! If you don’t, it’ll end up polluting local streams or groundwater.
Rid Your Car of Winter
Start with the underside of your car. Especially if you live in a climate that receives a lot of snowfall, it’s likely your car has salt coating the bottom from when it’s put on the roads to make driving conditions safer. The truth is the salt will eat away at the metal on the underside of your car. Other things to look at include your battery, ditching the snow tires if you have them, checking fluid levels, and checking oil levels, especially if you didn’t drive your car much during the cold months.
Change the Air Filter
During the colder months, a lot of debris can clog the filter. It’s recommended to change the air filter every 12,000 miles, but that depends on the air conditions in your area and how the roads are. For instance, if you live in a city with lots of air pollution and drive on gravel roads frequently, your air filter will get clogged more quickly than a car that drives on the pavement in the suburbs. It’s important to note that your air filter will actually work better with a little bit of debris already on it. A completely clean filter won’t be able to filter out the debris as well.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
There are always some pretty crazy rain and thunderstorms in the summer months. Sometimes, the skies open and the water completely impedes your view of the road in front of you. It’s so important to get these replaced in the summer so you can increase your visibility as much as possible. The cold weather, particularly the ice, snow, and salt, can cause cracks and tears in your windshield wipers that decrease their effectiveness. A big indicator that these cracks and tears have impacted your windshield wipers is if you see them leave streaks behind on the windshield in a light drizzle.
Have you ever lost AC in your car on an incredibly hot summer day? That experience can be pretty miserable. One of the easiest ways to figure out if your air conditioner is close to shutting down is if it’s unable to produce a temperature that’s 50 degrees lower than the temperature outside. We recommend having a professional take a look at your air conditioner if you suspect something is wrong or if it’s completely shut down. Usually, the cause is having a leak in the refrigerant, which leads to low levels. These issues are pretty complicated, so we don’t suggest you look into this issue without the help of a mechanic.
Keeping your vehicle properly maintained is an essential task for any road trip. If you need help with getting your car road trip ready, give us a call at (919) 821-0503 or fill out the form below.