Be Cool This Summer: 3 Things to Prep Your Car With
Remember around October or November, when the first set of chills arrived? You probably scrambled not only to get a new winter coat, but also, to winterize your car. By December, your ride was decked out, ready to tackle the road as a winter warrior. Now that summer is approaching, you’re probably in the process of taking some of these winter precautions off. But the question remains: are you making sure that your car is well-equipped for summer? Many drivers assume that their car is summer-ready by simply taking off their winter tires or throwing their winter mats in the garage. However, the warmer months can put stress on your car, just like the colder months can, taking a toll on your vehicle’s efficiency, performance, and safety. But you can take steps to keep your vehicle at its best.
Keeping Your Cool
The health and safety of your family as well as your own well-being is the most important reason to prepare for summer driving. Here in Canada, the summer can bring on its own weather extremes, some of which are worse than what we experience in the winter. That’s why you need to take the right measures ahead of time.
Check the AC
If you end up driving on an “Extreme Heat Alert” day, you’ll have a huge appreciation for a working air conditioner. But that’s the problem. Too many people enter the summer season, without checking to see if their AC works. It isn’t until they’re sweating and fanning themselves, that they realize their AC is dead. It has probably happened to you. The fix is to have it checked before the temperature rises. Try it out. If it works, great. If not, take it to a mechanic for inspection. They’ll check the vents to see if they are clogged, or if there are any damaged belts or leaks. It’s essential you have your AC checked out sooner than later since damage to the unit gets more expensive as time goes on.
Not only will you want to keep yourself cool, you’ll want to make sure your car is at a good temperature. Overheating is one of the most common causes for summer driving breakdowns. During the warmer months, your car’s cooling system has to work double time to keep your vehicle’s temperature level cool. Your engine can get dangerously hot when that happens. To make matters worse, the cold temperatures of winter can make the hoses of the cooling system brittle, so the other extreme of summer heat can lead to roadside mishaps. The solution? Have your cooling system tested and if necessary, “treated” by a mechanic before the days get hot. Also, see to it that your mechanic has the system flushed out and refilled according to the recommendations mentioned by the manufacturer.
For a Radiant Shine
It’s inevitable for your car to lose its gloss over time, and it happens both on the inside and outside. However, the sun and its heat can speed up the process. Now it’s not entirely possible to avoid the sun altogether, but you can take steps to minimize its effects on your vehicle.
You know how the sun causes wrinkles and generally wears out your skin if unprotected? Well it has a similar effect on your vehicle. Car paint can take a serious hit when the sun beats down on it, and the effects aren’t immediately noticeable. But you never know – this summer could be the one where you start to see things. The most visible sign of exterior sun damage is a fading paint coat, a messy sight where the surface of your car looks like it’s actually peeling off. The best way to prevent this catastrophe is by washing your car regularly. Handwashing with soap, water and an automotive cleaner is a good way to start. Also, don’t hesitate to visit the car wash and auto detailing shops every so often. These practices will keep the grime and dirt off your car, which often worsen sun damage.
The sun also has a way of causing interior trouble. On those boiling hot days, the seats can turn into stoves – sometimes too hot to touch. But the discomfort of extremely hot seats isn’t the only problem caused by the hot sun; the UV rays can actually lead to the fading of your car’s upholstery, and the cracking of leather seats. Fortunately, you can spare your car from such premature aging by means of the right maintenance products. For example, there are leather conditioners for leather seats, and protective sprays for upholstery. There are a host of products out there which can reduce the damaging effects of the sun on your car’s interior, so make good use of them!
Own the Asphalt
In the winter time, the snow and ice coat the roads, making your daily drive risky. But the summer months also give us road safety headaches in more subtle forms, and many drivers forget to prepare for them in advance. Don’t let that be you!
Summer driving puts a strain on your brakes in two ways. First of all, the heat warms up your brake pads and rotors, which are already heated by the friction caused by braking. If such heating continues, your brakes could suffer thermal damage, which may eventually lead to brake failure. The second way warm weather puts a strain on your brakes is by means of weather patterns. Thunderstorms, torrential downpours and summer floods, can lead to wet brakes, which mean less effective braking. The best way to prevent this is to have a mechanic inspect and test your brakes for damage and function. Once they see their current state, they’ll advise you on whether you need to have them replaced or not.
It’s easy to blame higher gas bills during the summer on price increases and more time spent on the roads. It’s also easy to overlook tire treads as a reason for spending more at the pump. In fact, many people ignore the type of tire they’re using for the hotter months. These individuals are depriving their cars of better performance. Using winter tires on dry and wet roads leads to poor handling since they are meant for snow and ice. Additionally, the use of winter tires in the warm months leads to faster wear and reduced fuel economy. The solution? Purchase summer tires to improve your vehicle’s handling, fuel economy, and best of all, speed! If summer-specific tires are too costly, you can always resort to all-season tires as an alternative.
Can Your Car Take the Heat?
As we enter the warmer months, it’s important for you to take a good look at your car’s current state. It may be perfectly suited for an unexpected blast of winter weather, but that’s not a good sign as it is ready for the wrong season. So think about preparing for summer driving. Consider the three elements listed in this post – health/safety, appearance, and performance – and have them taken care of by mechanics and other automotive professionals if necessary. By following these steps, your car will own the roads this summer without any hassles.