Even normal summer temperatures can be brutal. When a heat wave arrives, the temperatures can quickly become unbearable, and not just for human beings. The heat can also do significant damage to vehicles that aren’t properly maintained. Cars are usually the second most expensive investment most people make, which is why it’s so important to take care of it. In fact, making sure your car can handle the summer heat is as important as preparing it for the frigid winters.
To guarantee that your car is ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at it, from extreme temperatures to torrential downpours, check on these three important auto features right away:
- Oil: Think of your car’s oil as its blood — it is absolutely vital to proper function and continued existence. It’s a good idea to make a regular appointment at your local auto repair shop for an oil change to ensure that you have the right type of oil, both for your car and for the season. Heat thins oil by breaking it down, greatly reducing its viscosity. This reduces its effectiveness as a lubricant, which can cause major damage your engine. Neglecting this simple routine maintenance could end up costing you thousands of dollars. Most cars need their oil changed every 5,000 miles or four months (whichever comes first) anyway, so you might as well kill two birds with one stone. If possible, time these oil changes to occur before the start of summer and winter.
- Brakes: Your vehicle’s brakes have just been put through the wringer due to the previous winter. Managing snow-covered and ice-slicked roads can put immense pressure on this vital machinery; it would be wise to schedule a brake service to make sure nothing has been damaged and that all the essential and delicate parts are still in full working order. Additionally, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to visit your local tire shop to ensure the tread is still effective. The summer months can summon legendary storms, tornadoes included. You don’t want to discover that your brakes need repair in the midst of one.
- Coolant: Keeping your engine from overheating can be a bear of a task when the summer sun is frequently heating the metal hood of your car to triple digits. Much like our bodies, car engines need to be cooled in order to continue running and functioning at capacity. You will need to use a coolant (which is a 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze) to protect your engine from the heat. By pumping a cool liquid through the “organs” of your car (a.k.a. all the really expensive, technical parts) your car can regulate this temperature and prevent itself from getting too hot and breaking down. Auto repair shops can provide a tune up service where they check your coolant level.
Don’t be unprepared when the next summer heat wave arrives! Find an auto repair shop near you to schedule a routine checkup focusing on these three aspects of car health.