Summer Car Maintenance
You may have a vacation mindset from Memorial Day through Labor Day, but you can’t take a break from car maintenance just because it’s summertime. The hot weather, dusty conditions, and increased road trips make routine maintenance more crucial than ever this time of year. Here’s how to keep your car running all summer long.
Maintain the Coolant System
Keeping the engine cool is paramount in the summer when temperatures can soar into the 90s or higher in Baltimore. Check the coolant level often, and keep a spare bottle in your trunk in case the engine ever overheats. If it does, watch for wet spots under your car, which could indicate a coolant leak. You need to repair the leak as soon as possible to prevent ongoing car trouble.
Check Other Fluid Levels
Coolant gets extra attention in the summer, but maintaining other fluid levels is also critical. Seasonal changes can cause oil, power steering, brake, and windshield washer fluid levels to decline, so check them regularly.
Get an Oil and Filter Change
When you check the oil, pay attention to the color. New oil is honey-colored, so if yours has started to look more like molasses, don’t merely top it off—get an oil change. Summer is an excellent time for oil and filter changes because the intense weather puts extra demand on these components. With fresh, clean oil, you’ll have a happier engine for the remainder of the season.
Replace the Cabin Air Filter
The engine filter isn’t the only one you should change—the cabin air filter might also need some attention if it has been a year or more than 15,000 to 25,000 miles since the previous replacement. This filter helps keep the air in your vehicle free of dust, pollen, and smog, which are at their highest levels during the summer. Some cabin filters are easy to change yourself, but when in doubt, always consult a qualified mechanic.
Inspect the Brakes
Pay attention to how the brakes feel as you drive around this summer. If they start to feel spongy, you might need to bleed the system and get new brake pads. Keeping on top of this car maintenance can help prevent a dangerous situation on the road.
Test the Battery
Many people believe that cold weather has the worst effect on car batteries because this is when a low battery charge is likely to prevent your car from starting. However, the summer heat is tougher on your battery than winter’s chill. That’s why car battery maintenance is so essential in the summer.
To clean the terminals, start by removing the negative cable followed by the positive cable. Then, make a baking soda and water mixture. Dip an old toothbrush into the solution and scrub the terminals clean. Rinse off the residue with water and dry the terminals with a cloth. Lubricate the terminals with a dab of petroleum jelly and reattach the cables.
You’ll also want to have the battery load tested once a year. When a test reveals that your battery is starting to lose its ability to hold a charge, you know it’s time to shop for a replacement.
Replace Worn Belts
Check under the hood for loose or worn belts, especially if you start to hear an unpleasant squealing sound when the engine runs. Catching a deteriorating belt before it snaps can save you an expensive engine repair.
Change Out the Windshield Wipers
You can expect plenty of rainy afternoons in Baltimore during the summer. If your windshield wipers are starting to chatter or leave streaks on the windshield, it’s time to replace them. Windshield wipers are an inexpensive car part, but it’s vital for maintaining excellent visibility on the road. You can replace the wipers yourself, but a mechanic is likely to perform the job for free with the purchase of new wiper blades.
Recharge the Air Conditioner
Driving around Baltimore without AC in the summer can be pure misery. Make sure you can ride in comfort with a fully charged car air conditioner. All it takes is a quick-service check and refrigerant recharge, if necessary. Remember, the refrigerant level should always remain stable, so if the charge is low, that means you have a leak. A qualified mechanic can fix or replace the leaky hose, so you don’t have to pay for multiple recharge services.
Maintain the Tires
You should check your tires monthly all year round. The first thing to look for is adequate air pressure. Then, check the tread using the famous penny trick. Examine the sidewalls for cracks, bulges, or other signs of damage. Finally, make sure no stones, stray nails, or other debris are caught in the tread. Consider keeping a can of Fix-a-Flat in your car in case you ever have an emergency on the road. Then, shop for new tires when yours start to look worn out.
If you need your Toyota car or truck serviced this summer, come to Jerry’s Toyota in Baltimore. We offer an array of reliable, convenient services to keep your vehicle in top working order. You can trust our Certified ToyotaCare Service experts to maintain and repair every part of your vehicle, from the battery to the tires to the windshield wipers. Schedule an appointment with us today!