Although many people love the hot weather of summer, your car is better off without it. High temperatures just above the hot pavement stresses the components of your car and puts the engine cooling system to the test. Proper summer maintenance not only prevents unnecessary wear and tear and a possible breakdown on the road, it can also prevent a car crash. Have a safe summer by following these three hot weather maintenance tips:
Watch and Maintain Your Tire Pressure
Of the different maintenance tasks, this one is the most critical and can prevent a tire blowout on the highway. The worst thing you can do to your tires is to ride on them while under inflated. Under inflated tires cause excessive flexing of its rubber. This causes it to run hot and weakens the rubber and its attachment to the tire’s internal reinforcement. In addition to this, the tire soaks up heat from the pavement, which can reach over 200 degrees Fahrenheit on very hot days. This is why most tire blowouts and related car accidents happen during the summer.
Check the tire pressure while it’s cool (before using your car). Keep it inflated to the correct air pressure shown on the tire information decal on the door jamb. The same information is also in the car owner’s manual.
Change and Maintain Proper Oil Level
If you haven’t done your 5,000 mile oil change already, then now is the time to do it. Lubrication is especially important in hot weather. A heavier motor oil will provide better heat protection for older cars, but you should check with your owner’s manual first. Maintaining the proper oil level is also important because oil cools the engine by soaking up heat and carrying it away from engine components. Be careful not to overfill the oil because this can cause engine damage.
Watch Your Coolant Levels
Use a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water, and maintain the correct coolant level. Allowing it to drop too low reduces your cooling system’s ability to prevent overheating. Overheating does more than leave you stranded on the side of the road. Chronic overheating will damage engine components and either cause future engine repair bills, or shorten the life of your car. Never open a radiator cap while the engine is hot. This will cause severe burns to your hands and face.
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