You and your car have made it through the winter, whether it be a stormy winter if you live northern or a milder winter if you live down south. It is common for people to experience car issues in the summer heat that they didn’t during the winter because your car is more vulnerable in the heat. Here are the top five summer car repairs people typically run into during the summer months.
- Broken belt
Your drive belt is what keeps power running to the engine. The summer heat can increase the likelihood of your belt breaking. If it does break, it can cause the alternator, air conditioning and power steering to fail. Drive belts typically last between 60,000 and 100,000 miles.
- Low oil
It is vital to stay on top of your engine oil changes during the summer months due to the increased heat. If your car runs low on engine oil, the car will have trouble starting and it can cause damage to the engine. If your car needs an oil change, topping off the oil is only a temporary solution. The old oil will start turning into dirty sludge and cause your engine to work harder, leading to major engine problems.
- Tire blowouts
If you don’t regularly check your tire pressure and tire tread, make sure you do it at the beginning of the summer, especially if you are going on a long trip. Hot tires and pavements are more vulnerable to blowouts, and if your tires are not properly inflated, they become more vulnerable. Make sure to replace them before a trip if they are showing signs of wear and tear.
- Weak battery
Extreme heat can affect the condition of your car’s battery. Batteries that are subject to high temperatures can be damaged due to accelerated corrosion from the heat. Long trips you may take in the summer can also shorten your battery’s life due to the extra vibration. Check your car’s battery terminals for corrosion and make sure the battery s securely mounted. You also may want to keep jumper cables in your car in case of a dead battery.
- Low coolant
Your car is more prone to overheating when it is exposed to heat for an extended amount of time. If your car’s radiator is damaged or the hoses are worn it, the coolant may leak, and your engine’s temperatures will rise. Pay attention to your vehicle’s temperature gauge during the summer to prevent overheating. Low coolant levels can kill your engine, so get a regular checkup on your coolant. Change to a new coolant every two years.
If you live in Huntington, West Virginia, and you need a mechanic to check for any of these possible problems or are experiencing any of these problems, visit East End Body Shop.
These car issues just add more stress to your day and often seem to happen at the most inconvenient time, but they are not unavoidable.
As the heat approaches, your car needs more attention to certain areas if it is going to survive the summer. Be sure to follow these tips on your summer car maintenance to prevent your car from having extended problems during the summer.
- Change your oil
This is a vital aspect of a year-round car maintenance checklist, but it is especially important for the summertime and before you leave on your summer family vacation because your car is at more risk of overheating during this time. To check the oil, lift the hood and locate the oil dipstick. The dipstick has different lines to show where the adequate level of oil should be. If it’s low, add however much oil it needs.
- Check the coolant
Another way to prevent your car from overheating and needing summer car repairs is to ensure the coolant is at an accurate level. Coolant degrades, so you should change out conventional coolant every one to two years and extended-life coolant every five years. This is also an important oil to check in your car every so often to avoid any car issues.
- Test the car battery
Your car battery typically works harder in the summertime, so you will want to test your battery to make sure it is not close to going dead. Auto shops will test it for free, or you can buy your own battery tester/battery charger to do it at home.
- Check your A/C
Summer car repairs can include fixing the A/C in your car. It’s a smart idea to check your air-conditioning system before the summer heat comes, especially if you live somewhere where it can get up to 120 degrees. You can tell if your air conditioner is going out if it can’t generate or maintain an air temperature of 50 degrees below the outside temperature.
Air conditioning units typically malfunction due to low levels of refrigerant. This may mean your car has a leak somewhere in the system. Take it to a shop if you suspect it needs to be fixed before summertime rolls around. When your air conditioning is checked, they will make sure it has enough freon in it and that all the system components are working properly.
- Inspect the tires
Tires can be the most overlooked part of your car. This is important maintenance to check on your car whenever the seasons change. Tires that are under-inflated, over-inflated or misaligned can be dangerous, especially in the summer heat. If your tire is under-inflated, the pressure will cause your tire to blow. If it is over-inflated, your tire makes less contact with the road and can lead to hydroplaning in wet conditions. Your tire’s pressure-need will change with the temperature, so consult your owner’s manual to ensure you know what your tire pressure needs to be.
- Check belts and hoses
The most important thing to do when driving your car in the summer is to keep it cool. The radiator pumps coolant to and from the engine block through hoses, and the belts run the fan that helps cool the system further. The radiator will overheat if the hoses crack or the belts snap. Hoses will also slowly deteriorate, so it’s important to check for leaks, cracks and loose connections. Take note if the hose becomes soft; it should be firm. You can visually check belts for cracks and damage; pay attention to if the belt looks slick or smooth.
- Inspect the breaks
Your car brakes are the most important safety feature to keep an eye on. If you notice the grinding of your brakes, that likely means the lining of your brake pad is worn and needs to be replaced.
- Change air filter
Changing your car’s air filter may be part of your summer car repairs. The air filter is a barrier between your engine and the debris from outdoors, so it can get clogged with salt and other debris during the wintertime. A clogged air filter can lower your fuel efficiency, so replacing it can improve your gas mileage. It will also take the pressure off your engine to keep it running smoothly and make it less likely to overheat.
The recommended timeframe to change your air filter is every 12,000 miles. If you frequently drive on dirt or gravel roads, you may need to change it sooner. Mechanics will show you your air filter whenever you get an oil change and recommend if it needs to be replaced.
- Change windshields wipers
Even though you are done with the winter weather, the summer can still bring rainstorms, so it’s vital that your windshield wipers are working properly. They may even be more worn out and need replacing if you live in a snowy climate where you have used them excessively during the wintertime. Ice, salt, snow and extreme temperatures can also crack and tear the rubber of the windshield wipers which lowers the effectiveness. If your wipers are leaving streaks or take several passes to clear the rain, they should be replaced.
- Stock your emergency kit
It is smart to keep an emergency kit in your car and keep it fully stocked. It may include a first aid kit (Band-aids, hydroperoxide, medicine, self-adhering wrap, etc), blankets, gloves, socks, bottled water, snacks, and tools you need if your car breaks down. Your emergency kit can come in handy if you get stranded somewhere. If you have tools to fix basic car repairs, it may also keep you from getting stranded somewhere.
You should regularly check that your emergency kit is stocked, especially if you’ve had to dig into it. When summertime rolls around, add extra bottles of water. When it starts getting cold, add a few extra blankets if you need to. Taking a few moments to check your kit before a summer trip may save you a headache.
For any questions or the need for summer car repairs in Huntington, West Virginia, check out East End Body Shop for help.