Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but car care doesn’t take a vacation between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The warmer months present some challenges to personal transportation and maintenance, but this list will help us all have a summer we can enjoy.
Here are our top 10 tips to keeping your car — and its passengers — in good shape this summer.
1. Coolant System. Keeping cool is paramount, not just for ourselves but also for our cars. In addition to checking the level of coolant fluid in your car, go the extra mile and inspect the state of the hoses and the coolant reservoir. Keep an eye out for leaks, especially at joints and connection points, such as where a hose connects to the engine block. Also, squeeze the hoses (when the engine is cool) every once in a while to make sure they feel firm and not excessively squishy or soft.
2. Engine Belts. There is usually a serpentine belt that runs between the alternator, the fan, and several other components. It can deteriorate, become loose, start to squeal, and sometimes just break for no apparent reason. It needs to be in good condition and at the right amount of tension. If you see cracks in the belt or small pieces missing, it’s time to replace the belt.
3. Wipers. Yes, it’s summer, but it’s probably going to rain at some point. Worn wipers create nasty streaks across the windshield and can affect your vision while driving. Replacing them doesn’t cost much, but it can be a fiddly operation. If you’re in the habit of taking your car in for oil changes, ask them about the wipers, too. Sometimes a dealership will sell you the wipers and install them for free.
4. Other Essential Fluids. Check oil, brake, power steering and windshield washer fluids regularly. These liquids never stop being used and consumed. Speaking of brake fluid, how do the brakes on your car feel in general? Are they lacking in stopping strength? Feeling a bit spongy? If so, new pads and a system bleed might be required. This is the kind of maintenance you should have your mechanic or dealership take care of.