1. Test the AC
Summer heat pairs well with air conditioning. When higher temperatures hit, you’ll want a working AC system in your car. You may not have used your AC during winter or spring, so make sure you test it ahead of the summer season.
If you’re getting hot air when you turn your air conditioning on, a simple fix may be a refrigerant (Freon) charge. Adding refrigerant to your car can give your AC system a boost. If that doesn’t do the trick, a car mechanic should be able to diagnose and treat the problem.
2. Check your tires’ air pressure
Winter conditions may have done damage to your tires. So, before going on long road trips this summer, make sure you inspect your tire pressure. When checking your tire pressure, you’ll want to look for signs that your tires are under- or overinflated. Most passenger cars have a recommended tire pressure between 30 and 35 PSI (pounds per square inch). When in doubt reference your car owner’s manual to learn the specifics on what your tire pressure range should be.
Optimal tire pressure can prevent a flat tire or tire blowout. Ensuring your tires are properly inflated can also help maximize your gas mileage on those long car rides.
While you’re at it, it’s also a good idea to check the air pressure of your spare tire to make sure it will serve as a reliable alternative in case of an emergency.
3. Top off engine fluids
Seasonal weather shifts can often lead to low engine fluids as they tend to thin or even evaporate in warm temperatures. When summer comes around, you’ll want to top off your transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant and windshield wiper fluid.
Coolant fluid is particularly important to check during the summer months, as its job is to keep your car’s engine from overheating. Follow these steps to check your car’s coolant level:
- Open the hood
- Locate the coolant reservoir and undo the cap
- Check the coolant level shown by indicator lines on the reservoir
- If the indicator lines reveal that the coolant is too low, add the appropriate amount of coolant to the reservoir
- Reattach the cap
If you’re not comfortable checking the coolant levels, or any other engine fluids, your nearest mechanic can help you top everything off.
4. Get your oil & filter changed
Getting your oil and filter changed is one of the simplest ways to increase the longevity of your vehicle. Oil lubricants keep your engine safe from wear and tear, and the oil filter helps remove contaminants from your car’s engine oil.
Changing your oil is simple. However, if this service is not done routinely, your car can develop costly oil problems, like particle buildup that could wear down vital parts of your engine. A good rule of thumb is to change your oil every 5,000 miles or follow your car manufacturer’s oil maintenance guidelines.
5. Test your brakes
Coming off of the harsh winter weather, it’s important to monitor your car’s brake performance. You rely on your brakes every time you drive, so it’s a good idea to do regular brake tests not only in the summer months, but year-round.
Other than the obvious red flag of poor stopping performance, you’ll want to listen for squealing or growling sounds when testing your brakes. You’ll also want to check for brake pulling, or if your vehicle pulls to one side when you press the brake pedal. If you notice any of these poor performance signs, it’s time for an inspection and potentially a repair.