When the temperature climbs, the hot summer sun can take its toll on us and our cars. Just like we get sunburned, the heat can affect your car’s exterior and engine compartment. If it’s in good condition, your vehicle will stand a better chance against this hot weather. There are small and cost-effective ways to keep old and new cars running in top shape through the summer months.
Check out our summer car tips below. If you need a professional opinion, contact our service department today to schedule a maintenance checkup.
Under the Hood
There are a few things you can do under the hood to make sure you and your vehicle doesn‘t end up sweating on the side of the road. Make sure you’re familiar with the most important fluid levels to look out for and their locations under the hood.
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual can help you find these important fluids, or you can stop by our service department for expert advice and a quick crash course in topping up fluids.
Always Keep it Cool
With the temperature rising in the summer, watch your vehicle’s temperature gauge for higher-than-normal temperatures. If the temperature spikes, that means there may be a mechanical issue that needs your immediate attention. Your first action when the temperature rises, should be to pull over in a safe place, turn off the car, and let it cool down.
You can’t do anything about a hot engine other than wait for it to cool off. While waiting, give our service department a call to help you decide your next steps.
Top Up Coolant
When the engine is cool, check your coolant level and top it up as needed. We can’t stress enough how important it is to do this when the engine is cold. The coolant system is under pressure and opening it when the engine is hot could put yourself and those around you at risk of being burned.
You can make life easy and buy engine coolant premixed with water in a 1-to-1 ratio. If you have access to this premixed solution, add to the reservoir until the level reaches the fill line on the reservoir, pop the cap back on, and you’re good to go. If you do not have access to premixed coolant, you will need to mix the full-strength coolant and distilled water at a 1-to-1 ratio before pouring it in the reservoir.
Before buying your coolant, always check what type it needs in the owner’s manual, as many cars require a specific type.
Flush it Out
It’s a good idea to have your dealership’s service department flush your cooling system according to your vehicle’s maintenance schedule. The frequency varies, but many manufacturers say to do this every four years or 40,000 miles—check your manual for vehicle-specific estimates. This helps your cooling system stay in healthy working order so it can regulate the engine’s temperature and keep you and the engine cool on the road.
Routine Maintenance and Checks
Yes, it sounds mundane, but regular vehicle maintenance and checks can prevent issues or catching them before they become bigger problems. For example, staying on top of your oil changes is essential in the summer because your car’s oil helps remove excess heat from the engine.
The summer heat also does a number on car batteries. Our service department can do a complete inspection on your battery and charging system to ensure it is in good order. If it has an issue, we can also repair or replace it. Keeping your battery in good working order will prevent you from ending up on the side of the road or stuck on the side of the road.
In case you find yourself in the unwanted situation of being stuck on the side of the road, it’s a good idea to have a vehicle-emergency kit handy. Fill it with basic supplies like distilled water for the radiator, drinking water for yourself, jumper cables, a flashlight, and a first aid kit. If you want to go the extra mile, have an external battery pack to charge phones, some road flares, and non-perishable food.
With just the basic supplies, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and keep cool while doing so.
In the Cabin
These suggestions are as much for your benefit as the car’s. No one likes to drive in a hot, hot car, plus it can cause damage to the vehicle‘s delicate plastics. Keep your interior in good shape and prevent you from dealing with uncomfortable conditions with these quick tips.
Park in the Shade
This seems like an easy decision, but it can go a long way to keeping your vehicle cool and in good shape. Avoiding constant direct sunlight takes care of what’s under the hood and in the cabin. Constant heat and pounding from the sunlight can cause the plastics in your interior to become brittle and break or rattle, so look for trees, fences, or even other larger cars to provide shade for you. It’s also worthwhile to check for a nearby parking garage and walk a few extra steps if there’s no other shade available.
Use a Sun Blocker
If you know there is no shade in your work parking lot or wherever you leave your car regularly, invest in a reflective sunshade to block those harmful rays. Keeping the direct sunlight off your plastic, vinyl, or leather surfaces can help preserve them. If you can’t get a sunshade, some other options are to tint your windows, add a dash cover, or use blankets to cover your dashboard and non-cloth seats.
Cool Your Cabin Quickly
When you return to your hot car, roll down the windows to allow the hot air to escape. Since hot air rises, close the upper vents and use the lower ones to push the hot air out faster than just putting everything on full-blast. Once the cold air is pumping out, close the windows and switch the vents back to your preferred settings.
Stop by our service department today to get a full-service check-up to ensure you and your vehicle stay cool and safe this summer. Contact us to set an appointment today.