Post Summer Car Maintenance

Thermometer readings are dropping, the sunscreen is being put away, the phrase “back to school” is emerging more and more wherever you look. All of this can only mean one thing --- the summer is ending. If the heat is not your friend, you may be heaving a sigh of relief, but don’t think that your problems are done. Another member of your family that has experienced a great deal during the sweltering summer months is your car. Here are some important maintenance tips to check on after the summer is done.

1. Fluid Levels
We all know that water evaporates as it reaches boiling point, but how do we forget that other fluids essential to our car can also evaporate more rapidly in the summer heat? Lift the hood and take a look – check the levels of coolant and battery fluid. The battery is especially important because the water in the mixture evaporates and can expose the lead plates, which come winter will mean you don’t even have enough juice to get started.

2. Battery life
While you’re checking the fluid levels of your battery, look at the terminals as well for corrosion. Your long summer road trip will have brought extra vibration to the battery which can impact its life. If anything looks amiss, have the dealership mechanics check it for you, and get the issue dealt with quickly before it gets worse.

3. Tire Tread
Higher temperatures outside mean greater air pressure inside your tires, forcing them to ride on less of the tire’s total surface area. The heat also makes your tires dry out, which exacerbates strains on them further. You may follow a regular annual schedule for tire checks and changes, but consider moving that schedule up after a strenuous hot summer.

4. Steering and Braking --- The Works
Extreme heat negatively impacts a lot in your car, not just the fluid levels and tire tread. Pay close attention while driving and see if the steering or braking feels off in any way. If it does, you should take in to your dealership to get it checked and put right. It’s not only the ice and snow that affects your cars “mood” but also the summer’s high temperatures.

5. Oil Change
Maintaining proper engine lubrication through the summer is challenge, and many overlook the extra needs of the car’s engine during that time. Many of the newest oil products mean you don’t need to switch viscosity between the seasons, which is convenient, but the problem of keeping up with regular oil changes hasn’t gone anywhere. However recently you did a check and/or change of your oil before or during the summer, check it again as the season winds down.

Follow these tips and stay safe this fall. Don’t forget, if you are uncertain of any maintenance problems, take your car to the dealership and let the experts look.

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