While you might think that wintertime is the only season you really have to watch out for your car and take good care of it, you should be aware that in some ways, summer can be just as harsh on your vehicle. In order to ensure that your ride is always ready to go when you need it this summer, here is a handy list of things you should be doing according to our auto care center, and a list of things you should be avoiding.
If you can consistently stick to these tips, you should be able to enjoy a summer of great traveling and enjoyable experiences.
DO: Monitor for Overheating
Many of the newer models of vehicles are not equipped with temperature gauges, and instead, come equipped with a warning light that tells you when the car is approaching an overheated condition. If your car does have a temperature gauge, make a point of checking it occasionally while you’re driving, especially when you’re driving for an extended period of time, or when conditions are very hot outside.
If you have a newer car that is only equipped with a warning light, you should pull over immediately when that light starts to flash, because it is indicating an overheated situation. Don’t continue driving when you realize your car has become overheated because that could lead to more serious consequences.
DON’T: Leave Pets in Hot Cars
If you’re going to have to leave your pet in the vehicle while you go shopping, then you shouldn’t even take the animal with you on a road trip. Even when your windows are cracked open on a hot 90° day, the interior car temperature can soar to 140°F. Dogs are not able to sweat, and since they’re covered in fur, their body temperatures can quickly get out of control.
Every year, a number of pets die because they were left in a car on a hot day. Not only is this an inhumane thing to do, but your family members will be distraught if you insist on taking your pet for a ride with you, and then encounter a tragedy because you left them in the vehicle in a parking lot.
DO: Keep your Tires Properly Inflated
Summertime driving will always have the effect of generating higher tire temperatures, and that in turn will increase the air pressure in your tires. It’s good to get in the habit of checking your tire pressure occasionally at your auto care center, to make sure that tires don’t become overly inflated and overly pressured. While you’re at it, give your tires a visual check to make sure there isn’t excessive wear on the tire tread, because this will cause a performance issue.
The importance of your tires can hardly be overstated since they’re the only thing between you and the pavement, so it’s ultra-important that you keep an eye on their condition.
DON’T: Use Air Conditioning when it Gets Extremely Hot
Whenever you happen to be driving in extremely hot conditions, it’s probably best that you don’t use your air conditioning system. This might happen when you’re driving through one of the southwestern states which can reach temperatures of 110° during the daytime. By engaging your air conditioning system, you will be putting an additional load on your engine, and that can easily cause your car to become overheated.
If the car does get overheated, you will be left stranded until help arrives at the roadside. Better to be somewhat uncomfortable without the air conditioning, than to be stranded along the roadside for hours at a time.
DO: Check your Oil Level Frequently
Of course, summertime isn’t the only time of year when you should be checking your oil level at your auto care center, but it takes on added importance in the summertime when everything is much hotter. There is no longer a need to use different oil types in the winter and the summer because modern multi-viscosity high-quality oils have virtually eliminated the need for two different oil types.
Any good motor oil works in tandem with your cooling system to help regulate engine temperature, and when your oil level is low, that can cause your engine temperature to soar very quickly. When this happens, the oil begins to break down and thin out, and it will lose its effectiveness as a lubricant. Whenever you notice that the oil level is down a bit, you should make a point of refilling the reservoir up to its recommended operating level. Always ask your auto care center for this.
DON’T: Run Cars on Low Fuel
Many of today’s newer vehicles have the fuel pump situated right inside the fuel tank itself. The fuel pump relies on being surrounded by fuel in order to keep it somewhat cool, and if you have a very low level of fuel, there will be no fuel surrounding the fuel pump. That will make it vulnerable to overheating and increase the likelihood of premature failure.
When the temperature outside soars to higher levels, this effect is compounded considerably, and it can cause your fuel pump to fail even more quickly. Make a point of keeping at least a quarter tank of gas on hand, and to be really safe, you should try not to let your fuel reservoir get below half a tank.
TAKE CARE OF: Leaving Plastic Water Bottles in your Car
Every year, more than 50 billion plastic water bottles are sold in this country, and more than 80% of them will end up in landfills, even though it couldn’t be easier to have them recycled.
When you leave plastic water bottles in your car and they become heated up by interior air temperature, they can leach chemicals into the water they contain, and that can cause some major health issues. You’re much better off to purchase a reusable water bottle and fill it when necessary.
Of course, this won’t be an issue if you never leave plastic water bottles in your car overnight or for extended periods of time, but if you do forget about your water bottles, make sure you don’t drink from them after they’ve been sitting in the heat for a while.