ASK GARY: How Should I Maintain My Vehicle in the Summer?
Any extreme weather – hot or cold – puts added stress on a vehicle, and summer months can be just as brutal as winter ones. Keep in mind that while maintenance schedules in your owner’s manual are based on average conditions, most manufacturers recommend that mileage intervals are decreased to accommodate extreme driving or weather conditions, such as hot and humid summer weather.
Here are some tips for keeping your vehicle running well during the hot summer months:
- Flush the coolant system. Coolant failure is a main cause of breakdowns during the summer. The radiator and coolant system absorb and dissipate heat produced by the engine, so it’s important that they are in prime working order. Flush your coolant and check the radiator, heater hoses, water pump and fan clutch.
- Check the air conditioning. Make sure that your air conditioning is working efficiently. Check the system for leaks and make sure your vehicle is getting the right amount of refrigerant.
- Check your fluids. Oil, transmission, brake and power steering fluids should all be clean.
- Maintain your tires. Tires are critical for maintaining a safe and well-functioning vehicle. Underinflated tires won’t disperse heat properly and overinflated tires cause the tread to wear out quicker. The right tire pressure for your vehicle can be found in your owner’s manual as well as the driver’s side door jamb or glove box. Also check your tires to make sure they still have good tread.
- Take your vehicle for a tune-up. Make sure your vehicle has had a recent tune-up to ensure that parts such as spark plugs and the fuel filter are in good working order.
By maintaining your vehicle properly before summer road trips, you can avoid unplanned delays waiting for a tow truck and enjoy your summer. Happy and safe travels!