8 Easy Tips to Prepare Your Car for summer
While the demands of winter temperatures and driving conditions can place severe strains on your car, the high temperatures, heavy rain, dust, and high humidity of summer can be even worse for your car. So to avoid summer conditions catching you unawares, we have compiled a simple checklist to help you prepare your car for the changing conditions.
Fit Hot Weather Tires
Replace your snow tires with summer tires as soon as conditions allow. Snow tires do not do well on hot, dry roads, because the compounds they are made from do not offer adequate traction in dry conditions, which places your safety at risk. Moreover, snow tires are a lot heavier than dry weather tires, which increase fuel consumption unnecessarily.
Check the Battery
Although most battery failures occur during winter in areas with extreme winter conditions, hot, humid weather is just as bad for car batteries. Have the battery checked at a certified battery service center to make sure the cells deliver the same power, and that the battery is still capable of delivering sufficient starting current.
Batteries that are less than perfect can damage sensitive electronics, and in some cases, can even destroy them.
Wash Your Car
This might sound like a no-brainier, but if you are new to an area where lots of salt is used to De-ice the roads, a heavy salt deposit will have accumulated on, and under your car. The best way to remove this (corrosive) salt is to have the car washed with a high-pressure hose, paying particular attention to the wheel wells and suspension components. Ideally, the car should be on a hoist to make it possible to reach all the nooks and crannies, in which the salt could remain undetected to cause corrosion later on.
Change the Oil
Summer temperatures place huge demands on engines, so if you had used a particular oil for winter conditions, make sure you replace the oil with a grade that is more suited to summer conditions, in which oil thins out much more than during low temperatures.
Check Tire Pressures
Low temperatures cause the air in your tires to contract, thus lowering the pressure. Conversely, the high temperatures during summer cause the air to expand, which raises the pressure. Do not rely on your tire pressure monitoring system to always indicate the actual tire pressure- get a good quality digital tire pressure gauge, and confirm the tires are inflated correctly at least once a week. It will not only extend the life of your tires; it will also save you lot of fuel.
Check the Cooling System
Check all the radiator hoses for signs of cracking, bulging, or other signs of deterioration, and be sure to check all drive belts as well. Sub-zero temperatures can cause rubber to crack, and if the drive belt fails, the water pump will stop working, which in turn, will cause the engine to overheat.
Also have the condition of the coolant checked, since anti-freeze compounds remain active only for about one year. Reduced effectiveness of anti-freeze can not only cause overheating, it also offers reduced protection against corrosion inside the engine.
Check the A/C System
Check the A/C system by letting it run for a few minutes. There should be no noise of any kind, but it is always a good idea to let the A/C run regularly for a few minutes once a week or so right through the winter to keep the internal parts of the compressor lubricated.
If the A/C system does not function correctly have the refrigerant charge checked, since most of it may have escaped through small leaks during the months it did not work.
Check the Wipers
Low temperatures can cause wiper blades to deteriorate very quickly, so inspect the blades for signs of cracking or general deterioration. If there is any doubt about the condition of the blades, replace them. Being caught in the first severe thunder storm of summer is not the time to discover that you have non-functional wiper blades.
You’re all set…
Performing the few simple steps outlined here will get your car in great shape for the summer months. However, don’t wait for summer to roll around before you pay attention to the condition of your car. Proper car care and maintenance is a year-round activity, and getting into the habit of doing regular health and safety checks on your car will save you a ton of money in the long run.