Tips for Summer Car Maintenance

90-degree heat can put a great deal of extra stress on your car - even more so if it has surpassed the 100,000-mile marker. That being said, there are some simple preventative summer car maintenance tips that can help you avoid having to deal with an unwanted breakdown.

Clean Your Car Battery

Wintertime is notorious for dead batteries and pre-work jumpstarts. But the real truth is that hot weather is even tougher on your battery. Summer heat can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery, causing the battery to be overcharged and shortening the lifespan of your battery. Regularly detach the battery cables and wipe off the terminals and make sure the battery is strapped down tightly and that all connections are secure.

Take Care of Your Tires

Heat pushes the materials your tires are made of to their limit, causing blowouts and flat tires. Make sure you keep your tires inflated to the manufacturer's specification, which is found in the vehicle's owner's manual. This will not only prolong tire life but help reduce fuel consumption.

Check Your Oil

As car owner's we all know that most mechanics and owner's manuals suggest that you change your oil and oil filter every 3,000, 5,000 or 7,500 miles (depending on oil type, make/model). It's not only beneficial to adhere to those instructions but to check your oil before each big family road trip. To check your oil, let your car run for a few minutes, then park it on a level surface and shut off the engine. Open the hood and locate the oil dipstick. You're looking for two things here: the level of oil and how the oil looks. If you're low on oil, you can either add another quart or take it to Cary Car Care and get it changed :). The oil should look brownish yellow and clean on the stick. If the oil is a dark color or there's a lot of dirt and grime in it, then you definitely need an oil change and oil filter replacement.

Keep Your Car Cool

Here we are referring to two things, literally keeping your car cool (the engine) and keeping you cool in your car (air conditioning). Your engine coolant lasts thousands of miles, and many manufactures call their coolant “100,000 mile” fluid, but it should not be neglected. Make sure you are taking a peek at it regularly and ask your mechanic to check it when you car is in for other repairs. When it comes to A/C (air conditioning) you typically need to get it looked at every 3 years or so to maintain optimal levels of output. Don't get left stuck in a 90 degree inside a car with no A/C!

Written by Cary Car Care