Maintaining your vehicle is essential year-round both to extend its life and to head off potential accidents. If you are quick to think about snow tires and anti-freeze in the winter, but neglect to think about summer auto maintenance, you may be setting yourself up for unnecessary trouble on the road, especially during the dog days of summer.
Summer Auto Maintenance Tips
Keeping up with your car’s maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and even accidents. In the summer, be especially vigilant about:
- Fluid levels. Hot summer temps cause all the fluids in your vehicle to evaporate faster, which can wreak havoc. Check your motor oil and battery, transmission, power steering and brake fluids and make sure they are completely full.
- Tire pressure. Under-inflated tires are more likely to rupture when they overheat, which can lead to a very dangerous blowout.
- Worn parts. Rubber components and belts also deteriorate faster in the heat, so be sure to inspect them and replace if worn or damaged.
- Your engine. It’s no surprise your engine gets hot, but summer heat places an added burden on its efficiency. Make sure your cooling system is in peak condition before summer road trips to avoid overheating by the side of the road.
Advance Preparation Helps
It’s always a good idea to keep a well-stocked emergency kit in your car in case of a breakdown, accident or other emergency. In the summer, this should include a first aid kit, a spare tire and tools to change a tire, water and non-perishable food items in case you are stuck somewhere for an extended period, a flashlight with fresh batteries, road flares and jumper cables.
Enrolling in a roadside assistance plan will provide you with additional peace of mind, and easier access to help if you need it. In addition, make sure all the drivers in your family practice smart driving and know what steps to take in the event of an accident, so they know how best to react and document what happened.