Monday, July 29, 2013

Protecting Your Car in the Dog Days of Summer

Guest Article by Reggie Sizemore *

There are many things that go hand-in-hand with those long, hot days of summer. Sunscreen, cool drinks, plenty of vacation time, the list goes on and on. When it comes to those gruelingly hot mid-summer days, there is really only one thing that matters the most and that is keeping cool.

Not only is it important to keep one’s person cool, but maintaining your car during the extreme heat can prevent a tremendous amount of hassle down the road. The last thing anybody wants is to be broken down in 100+ degree weather with no A/C. After months of battling the elements of winter your car is most likely in need of some service, that is why I have compiled a checklist for preparing/maintaining your car for the grudgingly hot days of summer.

1. Remove winter tires

a. This should be a given once spring arrives

b. If you do not have seasonal tires, it is still important to have your all-season tires either rotated or changed.

2. Brake check

a. Winter can take quite a toll on your vehicle’s brakes.

b. Warning signs include: grinding, squealing, screeching.

3. Coolant

a. Consider running 5 miles without any water in 100 degree weather… That is how your car feels without adequate coolant.

b. Be sure to check/maintain coolant levels at the beginning of summer, as well as before leaving on any extended drives.

4. Wipers

a. Like the brakes, wiper blades take a beating during the winter months.

b. Be sure to change blades out when spring comes around to ensure clear vision on those beautiful summer days.

5. Air Condition

a. Most likely you’re A/C has been out of use for the past 6 or 7 months.

b. Get your air conditioning serviced before first use to ensure it is prepared to work hard throughout the summer months.

c. A malfunctioning A/C can cause the car the heat up and ultimately lead to further problems.

6. Tires

a. Hot surfaces like asphalt can increase the possibility of flats.

b. The hot air causes expansion and can lead to excessive tire pressure.

c. Check tire tread and pressure thoroughly and frequently.

d. Always have a spare (make sure it’s not flat as well)

7. Battery

a. The cold of winter results in a higher likelihood of corrosion of auto parts, including the battery.

b. Before getting your summer started, be sure to get your car batter cleaned and tested.

c. Have an expert check all batter cables and points.

8. Oil

a. Like all times of the year, it is important to frequently check and top off your car’s oil.

b. During the hot months it is vital that your vehicle is a well-oiled machine to ensure a smooth ride all summer long.

c. Fully synthetic oils are specifically designed to protect your engine in hot weather.

9. Lights

a. Longer drives are more prevalent during the summer, that is why it is important to be prepared for traveling at night.

b. Replace any headlights/brake lights that are not working.

c. Clean all lenses to ensure optimized vision while driving at night.

10. Clean!

a. The most important of all preparations is of course making sure your car looks good, right?

b. Clean out the underbody to rinse away any salt build-up to avoid erosion.

c. Wash the exterior regularly to keep your vehicle looking fresh.

d. Wax regularly to protect your car’s shine.

e. Apply a protectant to interior surfaces to avoid sun-damage and cracking.

After carefully going through this checklist, your car is sure to beat the heat year after year and bring you countless memories without fail. Don’t let the hot weather bring you down because your car can’t handle the heat. Instead be on top of your preparation and maintaining to ensure a smooth ride all summer long.

* About the author: Reggie Sizemore is a self-proclaimed road-warrior hailing from the Pacific Northwest. After developing an affinity for the open road over the past decade, Reg has taken part in numerous long-distance drives both international and domestic. Mr. Sizemore works as a freelance writer in the automobile industry, specifically for companies dealing in auto transport services.

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