Summer Is Here!

It’s hot.  We’ve packed up the parkas, and pulled out the tank tops.  You’ve changed out of your boots, and into your favorite flip flops.  You’re doing everything you can to keep cool.  What about that car out in the driveway?  What have you done to get it ready for the summer heat?

The only thing worse than getting stranded in the freezing rain is getting stuck on the side of the road in a 95 degree heat wave.  Hot weather maintenance is extremely important.  Just as you would get your vehicles prepared for winter, you need to do the same for the warmer months.

Most of us are prepping for summer vacation.  Pack the swim suits; we’re headed to the beach!  Or, maybe that trip to Disney World you have been saved been saving for.  Nothing would ruin your trip more than the family vehicle breaking down.

Imagine it with me … You’re headed down I-75, the surf calling your name.  The kids are happily nestled in their seats, headphones on, not a care in the world.  Suddenly, you hear a strange noise and start to smell a strange odor.  You pull over only to find you’ve over heated.  You call a tow truck, and sweat it out with the kids for an hour.  Hopefully a roadside mechanical shop will take mercy on you.  Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Here are some of my favorite (and tested) hot weather car care tips to keep you moving this summer:

  • Now’s the time for a general tune up.  An oil change and a brake check are obviously the most important.  You’ll also want your coolant levels checked, and filled.  Have you ever tried running a marathon without water?  This is how your car feels when running low on coolant.
  • Have your AC system checked.  Freon can leak, hoses can come lose.  These are simple fixes.  Most automotive parts stores can recharge your system.
  • It’s imperative that you check your tire pressure for several reasons throughout the year.  The heat really takes a toll on your tires.  Tires that are under or over inflated can cause a dangerous blow out, and even affect your gas mileage.  The correct fill amount can be found in your vehicle maintenance booklet.
  • Just as heat can wear on your tires, it can wear on your brake rotors and pads as well.  If you drive a daily commute, or in heavy traffic you’re wearing on a very crucial part of your vehicle.  Now is the time to replace worn pads, and/or have those rotors turned.
  • Just like you put sunscreen on your skin to protect it from the sun, the vinyl and leather in your vehicle needs protection too.  You can purchase a bottle of protectant from your local parts store.  This could save you from nasty cracks in your upholstery and dash.  The exterior of your vehicle is taking a harsh beating from the elements too.  Protect your finish with a good coat of wax.
  • Do you belong to an auto club, such as AAA?  Auto clubs are a great service when you’re in a pinch.  Make sure you have their contact information handy, such as listed in your cellphone or kept on a card in your glove compartment.

If you’re like me, you dread shelling out money for car expenses.  Spend the time and money now to prepare your vehicle for the hot southern summer, and chances are you’ll be saved the extreme expenses of repairs versus maintenance.


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