Summer Car Maintenance

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Car maintainenceYour vehicle requires special maintenance during Alberta's hot and often wet summer months. This is even more important if your family takes summer road trips. Your checklist should include the following:

  • If you have an older vehicle, change the oil before the summer heat hits. New models have oil blends that are suitable for all-season use (Healey, 2012). Check your vehicle's manual if you are unsure.

  • Transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and brake fluid do not only lubricate parts, but also serve as coolants. They should be filled to the level specified by your car manufacturer.

  • Watch the engine temperature while you drive and have the coolant replaced if it becomes prone to overheating. New vehicles require new coolant only every five years, so rather have your cooling system examined by a mechanic than to repeatedly replace coolant. Mix coolant and distilled water in equal amounts before pouring it into the radiator. Importantly, do this only once the vehicle has cooled (AAA, 2014). 

  • Tire pressure increases in warm weather. Consult the owner's manual for the recommended tire pressure and keep it at approximately that level throughout the season. Check your spare tire at the beginning of the season, since blow-outs are more likely in warm weather. The AA advises that you use the vehicle's manual, rather than the number molded into the tire sidewall, for guidance (AAA, 2014). 

  • The Car Care Council recommends that you test the battery once or twice during the warmer months. Heat can damage the internal structure of the battery by causing battery fluid to evaporate. Clean the corrosive built-up caused by this fluid from the battery terminals (The Car Care Council, 2014). 

  •  Park your vehicle under roofing as much as possible to safeguard the paint and interior fabric or leather from the sun. An occasional wax with UV protection polish will prevent the paint from fading if you have to park in the sun.

  • Keep your vehicle clean. Ensure that the seats and rugs are dry before you close doors and windows, or remove seat covers and rugs from the vehicle to dry in your house or office. 

  • If the air conditioner starts circulating warmer air, top up its refrigerant level so you can be comfortable while driving.

Appropriate car care reduces the chance that your car will let you down when you need it.