With a brutally hot Summer in Raleigh bearing down on us, you know it's important to take care of yourself (sunscreen and lots of water), your house (having your AC serviced and cleaning out your gutters), but what about your car? Yes, Summer sun and heat is hard on your car, and without the right care, your road trip will be canceled as you'll be facing expensive repairs. Fortunately, you can protect your car with these five summer car care tips.
Keep Your Engine Cool
Your engine is naturally going to run hot when you're driving, but triple-digit heat outside only adds to the heat inside the engine. In fact, vehicle overheating is the leading cause of breakdowns in the summer.
Your first step is to keep an eye on your temperature gauge while you drive, but you'll want to go further. Check your engine coolant levels once a week, and keep a gallon of coolant in your car for emergency use. You can also have a certified tech inspect your engine cooling system.
Inspect Your AC Unit
Nothing will ruin a road trip or make your daily commute a misery like having no AC in your car, and it can even be dangerous to drive. Get your AC unit inspected before it gets too hot because if anything is about to go out, it is very doubtful it will keep going through the hottest part of the summer. Plus, fixing an issue before it breaks is usually less expensive than repairing a non-functioning system.
Check Your Tires
Tires wear out faster and are more prone to blowouts in hot weather. There are three main reasons for this:
The heat and humidity makes the rubber softer and soft tires on triple-digit asphalt experience a faster loss of tire tread while the heat can cause the layers of rubber in the tire to separate.
The sun can dry out the natural oils in the rubber, leading to the tires drying out, cracking, and weakening.
Heat causes the air inside the tires to expand, increasing the tire pressure and causing a less comfortable ride, decreased fuel efficiency, and a higher risk of blowouts.
Make sure you check your tire air pressure and inspect your tires at least once a week. Look for cracks or small chunks of rubber missing in the sidewall, and measure the tread on your tires. Most import car tires do have indicators when the tread is low, but if yours don't, you can easily measure your tread with a penny. Take the penny (positioned with Abe Lincoln's head upside down and facing you), and if you can see all of his head, your tire tread is too low, and it's time to replace your tires.
Change Your Air Filter
Your air filter is essential to the health of your vehicle, keeping out dirt, dust, leaves, and even pollen. Making sure clean air flows into your engine improves its fuel efficiency, ensures better combustion, and prevents expensive damage down the road. Reduced air flow from a dirty filter leads to decreased gas mileage, problems with your spark plugs, and even starting issues.
Check Your Battery
Most people only think of their car battery in the winter, but hot weather is the leading cause of battery failure. Summer heat speeds up the loss of fluid and leads to faster component oxidation and corrosion on your battery terminals and connections. Check your battery and clean anything that's built up on your terminals and cable clamps, testing the clamps for tightness. If your battery is over three years old, you'll want to get it tested to determine how much "juice" is left in it.
Bring Your Import Vehicle to Our Raleigh Location for Summer Maintenance
Don't let a breakdown get you stranded on the side of the road this summer! Bring your import vehicle to Reliable Imports for maintenance and inspection from our experienced team of techs! We work on Audis, BMWs, Hondas, and other import vehicles, and can keep your car efficient, comfortable, and in excellent shape all summer long! Call us today at 919-324-3019 to schedule an appointment.