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Summer Sun and Hot Roads: Crucial Car Maintenance Tips for the Season

Summer brings sunshine, vacations, and, hopefully, many happy miles on the road. But along with the warm weather comes a new set of challenges for your car. The scorching sun and sizzling asphalt can take a toll on your vehicle, increasing the risk of breakdowns and costly repairs. Here are some crucial car maintenance tips to keep your ride running smoothly and avoid unwanted roadside surprises.

Cooling System Is King

  • Coolant Check and Top-Off: Your car’s cooling system is the frontline defense against summer heat. Ensure your coolant level is correct and the mixture ratio of coolant to water is appropriate for your vehicle. Consult your owner’s manual for specific recommendations. A 50/50 mix is common, but some cars might require a different ratio.
  • Radiator Flush and Inspection: Consider scheduling a radiator flush and inspection. Over time, coolant can degrade and collect debris, reducing its effectiveness. A professional flush can help optimize cooling system performance.
  • Inspect Hoses and Belts: Visually inspect the radiator hoses and drive belts for cracks, leaks, or signs of wear. These components are crucial for coolant circulation, and any damage can lead to overheating. Replacing worn hoses and belts before they fail can prevent breakdowns on a hot summer day.
  • Thermostat Check: The thermostat regulates coolant flow within the engine. A malfunctioning thermostat can cause overheating or engine inefficiency. If you suspect an issue, have your mechanic check the thermostat.

Tire TLC: Beat the Heat and Maintain the Grip

  • Proper Tire Inflation: Hot weather can cause tire pressure to fluctuate. Check your tire pressure regularly (at least once a month) and adjust it to the recommended level when the tires are cold. Consult the placard on your driver’s side door for your car’s specific pressure requirement. Underinflated tires reduce fuel efficiency and generate more heat, increasing the risk of blowouts.
  • Tread Depth Check: Proper tire tread depth is essential for maintaining traction, especially during summer rains. Use a penny test to check your tread depth. Insert a penny head-first into the tread grooves. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible, your tires are nearing the wear limit and replacement might be necessary. Safe driving requires adequate tread depth to ensure optimal grip on hot roads.
  • Visual Inspection: Take a moment to visually inspect your tires for cuts, bulges, or uneven wear patterns. These can indicate potential problems requiring professional attention.

Oil Change and Filter Replacement

  • Fresh Oil Is Essential: Engine oil is critical in lubricating moving parts and reducing friction. Hot weather can place additional strain on your engine’s lubrication system. Following your manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals is crucial. Consider using a high-quality oil specifically formulated for hot weather conditions.
  • Filter Change Matters: Oil filters trap dirt and debris from the engine oil. A clogged filter can reduce oil flow and hinder proper engine lubrication. Replacing the oil filter along with every oil change is essential for optimal engine performance.

Battery Blues: Avoid Getting Stranded

  • Battery Check: Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, can damage your car battery. Schedule a battery check at your local service center. They can assess the battery’s health and recommend replacement if necessary.
  • Clean Connections: Corrosion on battery terminals can hinder proper electrical connection. Clean the battery terminals with a baking soda and water solution to ensure a good connection and prevent potential starting issues.

Bonus Tips for Summer Car Care

  • Wiper Check: Don’t get caught in a summer downpour with worn-out wiper blades. Replace wiper blades that streak or leave smears on your windshield.
  • Cabin Air Filter Change: A clogged cabin air filter can reduce airflow and hinder air conditioning performance. It’s a good idea to replace the cabin air filter before summer.
  • Sun Protection: Park your car in a shaded area whenever possible to minimize exposure to the harsh summer sun. This can help protect your car’s interior from excessive heat and fading.

Enhance Your Protection with Our Comprehensive Car Insurance Coverage

Regular maintenance not only helps prevent breakdowns and costly repairs but also extends the life of your vehicle. At Abbate Insurance Associates Inc., we understand the importance of reliable transportation. We offer a variety of auto insurance options to protect your investment. Contact us today to discuss your car insurance needs. Call us at (203) 777-7229 for a consultation.

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