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9 Tips to Keep Your Car Healthy This Summer

By Mia Bevacqua, June 11, 2018

Summer is the season to break out the bathing suit and sunscreen. But while it might the best time of the year for you, it’s hard on your car. 

High temperatures affect everything from your vehicle’s engine to its wiper blades. Fortunately, there are some ways to make summertime a little easier for your four-wheeled companion.

Here are nine tips for keeping your car healthy during the hot season.

1. Check the fluids

Fluid checks are important all year long — but they’re even more critical when the temperature soars. Make a point of inspecting your coolant, engine oil, brake fluid and — if your car has it — power steering fluid. Also, on some vehicles, the automatic transmission has a dipstick that allows you to check its fluid level. Be sure to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for performing each of these checks. 

» RELATED: Got a fluid leak? Here’s how to tell what it is

2. Inspect the tires

Before you head out on that summer road trip, be sure to check your tires. Start by looking for damage, cracks and uneven wear. Next, check the tire pressure. Underinflation will affect your fuel mileage, and can even lead to a blowout, and a potential accident.

» RELATED: How to tell if a tire has a slow leak

3. Check the air conditioning 

Nothing’s worse than sitting in traffic in 100-degree weather without AC. Before this happens to you, make sure your air conditioning system is blowing cold — not warm, not just cool. If it’s not, get your car to a repair shop before the next heat wave.

» RELATED: What to do when your AC isn’t working

4. Test the battery

Extreme temperatures (both hot and cold) can push a dying battery over the edge. Have your unit tested by a professional to avoid getting stranded and sweating through that T-shirt.

» RELATED: Signs your battery is in trouble

5. Inspect the wipers

Sun exposure and extreme heat can cause your windshield wipers to crack. If you deal with summer monsoons — or even just the occasional shower — it’s a good idea to inspect your wipers to make sure you’ll be able to see during a storm. You can replace them yourself if they’re beat up. 

» RELATED: What to do when your windshield washer isn’t working

6. Test the electric cooling fan

Electric cooling fans are designed to engage both when the AC is turned on and when the engine gets hot. Pop the hood, crank up the air and listen for the fan to engage. If you know what to look for, you may also be able to see the fan turn on. Electric fans are almost always mounted on the engine side of the radiator. (Note: Older vehicles, as well as some trucks, have mechanical fans, so this one won’t apply.)

» RELATED: How to keep your vehicle from overheating

7. Check your brakes

No matter the season, nothing matters more than being able to stop your vehicle quickly. Have your brakes checked to ensure they’re up to snuff for your summertime adventure.

» RELATED: What to do if your brakes are making odd noises

8. Use a dashboard sunshade

During the summer, extra sunlight filters through your windshield. Not only does this turn the interior into a pressure cooker, but it also wreaks havoc on your car’s dashboard, trim and upholstery. Protect yourself and your car by placing a sunshade on the dashboard.

» RELATED: How to keep your car cool when it’s parked

9. Have a seasonal inspection performed by a professional

Professional technicians know what to look for. They also have access to vehicle hoists, which allow them to check your car’s undercarriage and drivetrain fluids. Having an expert inspection performed each season gives you peace of mind and helps keep your vehicle running right.

» LEARN MORE: Get an estimate for your car repair

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