Your car has made it through the winter with flying colors. You likely performed a winter driving checklist last fall. If you did, congratulations. However, summer’s heat is upon us, and your car or truck needs an all-new inspection before the temperatures soar. Besides, you will likely be doing a lot more long-distance driving in the summer, perhaps a road trip to the mountains or a family vacation. Your car needs special preventative vehicle maintenance in order for it to perform properly during the warm summer months.
The following is just an overview of the important steps and procedures you’ll want to complete in order to get your car ready for summer. If you have questions about how to prepare you vehicle, some detailed information is included here. Make it a point to prepare a schedule of car safety and proper maintenance tips, and get them completed before the long, hot summer arrives.
If you have winter tires, replace them with the summer tires before the weather gets hot. Winter tires have a special tread that wears quickly when the pavement is dry and warm. Be sure to check the tire pressure on the summer tires when you install them and check the pressure once a month after that. Never check the pressure when the tires are warm from driving. Instead, check them when the car has stood for a time and the tires are cold.
Be sure to ask your preferred auto service center about whether you should mount summer wheels on your vehicle. Many cars and trucks will perform better in the summer if different wheel designs and weights are used with the summer tires.
You haven’t used your AC system in months, but now is the time to see whether your AC system is in top condition. Run the AC for a while to see if it’s still running cold. If it isn’t, get the problem checked out immediately. If there’s a problem with the compressor, it will fail very quickly. Also, if the system is out of whack, it can even mess up your serpentine belt.
If your vehicle has an in-cabin filtration system, check the owner’s manual to see how to perform maintenance on the filters or how and when to replace them.
This is the biggest part of your summer preventative maintenance schedule. Your cooling system keeps the engine and other parts of your car’s underbelly at a desired temperature. If the radiator coolant is getting dark, replace it immediately. Do not mix the coolant / antifreeze at a higher concentration in summer than in winter unless your service mechanic recommends that you do so.
Some mechanics used to recommend using a heavier engine oil in the summer and a lighter weight in winter. This is an outdated piece of advice. No car manufactured in the last 15 years has an engine that would benefit from this. Use the same oil weight year-round. Of course, it is strongly recommended that you get an oil/filter/lube job every 3,000 miles or so, and be sure to check the oil level regularly during the hot summer months.
When changing the oil, have the mechanic check the air filter as well. This is one of the most overlooked summer maintenance procedures. If your air filter is clogged, you’ll get the wrong air and fuel mix combination, and this will eventually lead to engine failure.
Remember to check the other fluids, too. Before the temperatures soar, check the brake fluid and transmission fluids. Refer to the owner’s manual for additional information about these fluids.
All of these services are part of a Jiffy Lube Signature oil service. We are committed to helping our customer’s vehicles run smoothly all year long!
Car safety and proper maintenance must include brake checks. If you feel any sort of grinding or pulsating when you hit the brakes, it could mean that your pads need adjusting. You’ll be doing a lot of start-and-stop driving during the summer months and worn brake pads will degrade much faster than in winter. Many brake shops offer free pad adjustment once per year. You cannot afford brake failure on a long summer road trip no matter what kind of prepaid vehicle maintenance program you have.
Washing the Car
This should be performed more often in summer than in winter. The snow and grime mix from last winter wreaks havoc on your car’s paint and underbelly. During the summer months, wash the car even if it doesn’t appear dirty. The more often you do this, the longer the results will last. Any detailing projects are also best performed in summer. Remember to get the car washed at a professional station instead of your own driveway. The soapy water, dirt, oil, and bits of metal that get washed away need to go into the sewer system, not into your neighborhood water drains.
Wiper Fluid and Wiper Blades
Depending on where you live, it may rain more in the summer or more in the winter. This has nothing to do with wiper maintenance. Wipers work harder in the summer months because the blade rubber is warmer and wears out more quickly. Always replace the blades by the beginning of summer even if they still look pretty good.
Check the wiper fluid level regularly and top it off as needed. Some of the newest wiper fluids have special ingredients that get rid of stuck-on bug goo.
Keep These in Your Car
Perhaps you’re planning a vacation that involves a long trip by car. Maybe you’re headed to Washington, DC for the 4th of July. Well, expect plenty of traffic, because early July is the peak travel-by-car week in terms of highway vehicle volume. Expect traffic jams, lower gas mileage, and unfortunately, a higher rate of car trouble. To help with this, have a summer trip emergency kit prepared, and keep it in the car at all times.
The kit should contain two flashlights, flares, and a portable tire inflator. The latter is inexpensive but can be a real lifesaver when on the road. These operate on the car battery via the cigarette lighter. Also have an extra gallon of coolant / antifreeze in the car. Keep your tire pressure gauge in the kit. We also recommend a hi visibility vest for safety purposes when your vehicle is disabled on a busy roadway.
This may seem like a lot of information to digest but remember that some of these preventative vehicle maintenance procedures can be completed at your local repair shop or lube center, such as your local Chicagoland Jiffy Lube. Simply put together a schedule and get it completed before the hot weather hits, and you’ll lower the chances of an expensive and time-consuming problem later this summer.