Summer’s here, and that means we’re ready for days at the pool, barbecues, and extra hours of daylight. But what about our cars? Are they ready for the balmy days of summer?
Before you relax by the pool this summer, be sure to check these maintenance must-dos off your list.
Here are the top summer car care tips for your vehicle:
- Cooling system service
- Check battery
- Check A/C system
- Engine air filter
- Check engine belts
- Find your sunshade
1. Cooling system service
The hotter it gets, the hotter your engine gets. Your car’s cooling system is what keeps the engine from overheating. So it’s a good idea to get a cooling system service ahead of the season to make sure it’s prepped to handle the higher temperatures. The last thing you need is for your engine to overheat on your grocery run.
A cooling system service keeps your engine from overheating by making sure it’s properly sending coolant through the engine block and heads. The service removes the old coolant, replaces it with new coolant, and adds coolant conditioners that allow the coolant to last longer, protect better, and move through the engine easier.
2. Check battery
Batteries don’t like temperature extremes. To be safe, and to avoid having to jump-start a dead battery in the heat of the summer, have it checked before the peak of the season
When a shop inspects your battery, they look for things like corrosion on the terminals and cable connections, and they check the charge and remaining battery life. This is the perfect opportunity for them to clean or replace the battery in your car before anything goes wrong. Battery maintenance is relatively straightforward and an ounce of prevention goes a long way.
Shameless plug: If you do find yourself stranded, most BG services come with free BG On the Road® roadside assistance. Ask your shop about getting this peace of mind with your next oil change.
3. Check A/C system
Engines aren’t the only things that overheat! Make sure the cabin air is going to keep YOU cool this summer. Refrigerant keeps your air conditioner pumping cold air through the inside of your car. Driving around on a sweltering summer day without any A/C sounds miserable.
Ideally, you would have had an A/C service in spring ahead of the hot months. But just to be safe, get one now or have your shop check the refrigerant levels.
4. Engine air filter
Dirt and debris get kicked up while driving and can clog the engine air filter. This filter is what gives your engine clean air to “breathe.” When an engine takes in air, it uses it to combust and power your vehicle. The cleaner the air, the better your engine performs.
To avoid loss of performance and decreased engine efficiency, have your shop take a look at the air filter at least once a year. You may not always need to replace it, but you can drive easy knowing your engine is breathing in the air it deserves.
5. Check engine belts
Everyone’s familiar with the sound of a bad engine belt, it’s that squealing you sometimes hear an engine make. A squealing belt is more than just an annoying sound, however. It could be the sign of a loose, worn, or cracked belt.
An engine’s belt provides power to the A/C, alternator, power steering, and more. It’s especially important to check the belt in the summer because you use the A/C more. And this can add additional stress to the belt. Also, if other vehicle components run off of the belt, like the engine fan or water pump, a belt failure could cause the engine to overheat.
Pay close attention to your engine’s noises and make sure you get the belt checked this summer. Because if it breaks, you’ll be stranded.
6. Find your sunshade
This isn’t just to keep you from scorching yourself when you get in the car and touch the steering wheel. Although it’s definitely a fringe benefit!
The summer sun can cause damage to the surfaces in your vehicle. Over time, the sun will bleach or lighten surfaces like the dashboard, console, and leather seats and make them more prone to cracks.
Plus, when your car sits in the sun it creates an uncomfortable driving experience. You run the risk of burning yourself and the car takes longer to cool off. Using your sunshade protects the surfaces inside your vehicle and helps keep your cabin cool.
There you have it. Print out this list and take it to your shop for summer checkup because you are a responsible vehicle owner and you do things like that.