With summer in full swing, it’s time to make sure your car or truck is in the best possible working condition. The extreme temperatures that summer brings are often tough on any vehicle – roof to exhaust and everything in between can be exposed to harsh conditions that are out of the ordinary for even a highly maintained vehicle. That’s why it is critical to keep up with routine maintenance in the summer months. Gone unchecked, some issues could leave you stranded on the side of the road in sweltering heat. Here are a few tips to keep both you and your vehicle protected against the extreme heat of summer and the damage it may cause.
While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind as summer heats up, consider that tire pressure is important, especially in the hottest months. As temperatures rise, the air in your tires expands. This is why checking your vehicle’s tire pressure is critical before heading out on any road trip, even if that trip is simply to the grocery store. Using the proper tire pressure for your vehicle in particular is also critical. Do not leave it up to chance. Be sure to check both the owner’s manual of your vehicle along with your tires. This may also be located inside the door jamb or glove compartment, so be sure that you are using the proper information before adding air to your tires. Over-inflating is just as dangerous as driving on tires with low pressure. Both could lead to a costly blowout if unattended.
Tires that are over or under inflated may also reduce the vehicle’s handling capability or generate excess heat. Although most newer cars have an on-board tire pressure monitoring system, having a good quality tire pressure gauge is important both for peace of mind and to ensure that the tires are inflated properly at any given time. Don’t forget to check the pressure in your spare tire as well because you never know when it may be called on to save the day.
Fluids like coolant, motor oil and windshield washer fluid should all be checked during the hotter months to keep levels where they should be. Engine coolant or antifreeze, is the most critical fluid to test in the summer months. Checking this fluid is pretty straightforward in modern vehicles. This is generally done through the coolant reservoir located under the hood. Consult your owner’s manual for a specific location. Always make sure the coolant level is between the minimum and maximum markings, adding more if necessary. NEVER open the radiator cap or coolant tank lid when the engine is hot.
Along with the heat, summer also means more long-distance road trips, so it’s a good time to keep up periodic maintenance like oil and filter changes and inspection or replacement of the air cleaner and fuel filters. Keeping up with regular maintenance only improves the efficiency of your vehicle, making it more cost-effective on the road. Not only are these essential to the durability of your engine in the long term, but neglecting them will cause poor fuel economy in the short term. Performing regular maintenance means it will take less fuel to make your roadtrip a success. Maintaining proper tire pressure and using cruise control on the highway can further improve fuel economy, keeping your summer fuel costs down.
For more information on how to keep your vehicle running its best this summer, contact the experts at Advanced Four Wheel Drive & Auto Repair. We’re happy to answer your questions regarding the effects of extreme heat on your car or 4×4.