Five Tips to Prepare Your Car for the Cruel Summer Ahead
As the 80’s pop group Bananarama once sang, “It’s a cruel, cruel summer, leaving me here on my own.” While most people enjoy a summer road trip or a relaxing trip to the beach, the summer months can be particularly hard on your vehicle. If you don’t prepare your car for summer’s high temperatures and extreme weather conditions, you may find yourself “left on your own” – with a broken down car and a pricey repair bill.
Fortunately, there are a few simple checks you can perform to ensure that your car continues to run smoothly during the summer. You can also consult the Honda service experts at Braman Honda to check that all of your car’s systems are in proper working order.
Here are five tips to prepare your car for the long, hot (and sometimes cruel) summer:
- Cooling System: Overheating is one of the main concerns for your vehicle in summer. Your car is particularly vulnerable when idling, due to a lack of air flow in the engine compartment. In addition to checking the radiator and coolant, you should check hoses for cracking or loose connections, particularly where they connect to the radiator or the engine. Belts should also be checked for damage or excessive wear. Our technicians are happy to check any of these items for you if you’re unsure of their condition or can’t locate them. Engine coolant (AKA antifreeze) levels should also be checked regularly during the summer. A rule of thumb is to flush your radiator and add new coolant every two years. If you notice a puddle of coolant under your vehicle after parking for a while, have your system checked for leaks immediately.
- Air Conditioning: While your car can operate without a functional air conditioning unit, you’ll definitely want to have it working properly when the mercury rises. The most common problem found in auto A/C units is a low level of refrigerant. Due to the high level of environmental regulations surrounding cooling systems and refrigerants, it’s best to contact us if you notice a problem with your cabin cooling system.
- Oil & Filter: Recommendations for regularity of oil changes vary between every 3,000 to 7,500 miles. This range can vary further based on whether you are using conventional oil or synthetic – synthetic oil costs more, but usually lasts much longer. Due to the higher risk of overheating in summer, it’s a good practice to get under the hood and check your oil often, especially before longer trips. Oil should appear brownish-yellow and clean on the dipstick. If the oil is a darker color, or it’s noticeably full of dirt and grime, then you should schedule an oil change and oil filter replacement. If the oil level is low, you can add oil (check your manual for the proper type) or change it altogether.
- Tires: Because tire pressures can change with rising temperatures (one or two PSI for every 10-degree change in temperature), summer can be a particularly stressful time of year for your tires. Make sure your tires are properly inflated by checking them with an accurate pressure gauge, and making sure the pressure matches the recommendations listed on the sidewall of the tire. Under-inflated tires bulge outward and are more susceptible to sidewall blowouts, while over-inflated tires make less contact with the road and can be more unsteady, particularly in wet conditions. Under-inflated tires can also negatively affect fuel economy.
- Battery: Summer can be as hard on your battery as the winter. Excessive heat can cause overcharging or evaporate internal battery fluid, both of which shorten battery life. To help keep your battery running properly, keep it clean by detaching the cables (when the engine is shut off of course) and wiping off the terminals or scrubbing them gently with a wire brush to remove corrosion. You should also make sure that it’s securely strapped down and that connections are tight. If your battery doesn’t seem to be holding a charge, bring it in to Braman Honda for an inspection. We can determine if it needs immediate replacement.
Follow these tips to get your car ready before the summer heat kicks in to high gear, and the upcoming season should be more “cool” and less “cruel.”
At Braman Honda, we take pride in our high quality auto maintenance and our exceptional customer service. While we are a Honda dealership, our highly-trained service professionals are adept at servicing all makes and models. If you’re in the greater Palm Beach area and need to get your car prepped for summer, give us a call or schedule a service appointment today. While you’re here, you can check out our great selection of new Honda vehicles and pre-owned cars. Call Braman Honda at (800) 651-4185 or stop by our showroom at 5200 Lake Worth Road, Greenacres, FL 33463.