Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Summer!
It’s hot and you are stuck in traffic with all the families on vacation. Now is not the time to start worrying about the mechanical condition of your new or used car. Just as you should get ready for the winter season, you should also get ready for summer weather. Your car will thank you and you will be less likely to get stuck on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. Here are some things you should review before hot weather gets here, and it’s not too late to check them now.
Air Conditioning — You may think that your air conditioning system can be forgotten, but that’s not true. If your A/C isn’t running well when it’s not very hot outside, it may give up entirely when the hot season arrives. In addition, newer cars have a cabin air filter which takes out debris and dust from air brought inside the car. It needs to be checked and replaced regularly, so review your owner’s manual and change it or have it done by your favorite auto tech.
Cooling System — A vehicle’s cooling system consists of a radiator at the front of the car, and coolant which circulates through the engine to keep it from overheating. Coolant can last for some time, but it is recommended that the system be flushed and refilled every two years, unless your vehicle manufacturer recommends a different schedule. If you plan to do this yourself, make sure the engine has cooled completely before opening the radiator cap. Never dump coolant on the ground, it’s poisonous to animals and causes pollution. Capture the coolant and recycle it through your local recycling location or a local service station.
Oil Changes — Oil is the blood of your engine, and it needs to be healthy. Unless you use special oils required by your vehicle’s manufacturer, you should change the oil every 3,000 miles in hot weather, particularly if you are driving in stop-and-go traffic a lot or towing a trailer or boat. Low-speed idling is harder on the engine oil, so don’t hesitate to change it. Never dump oil in the ground, it will contaminate ground water. Always take used oil to a recycling location.
Get a Tune-up — If you notice the engine is running rough, particularly on hot days, you may need a general tune-up of your engine. You will have a better running engine and will use less gas when you get the engine tuned by a qualified mechanic.
Can You See Me Now? — Hot weather means rain storms in many areas, and that’s not the best time to find out you need new windshield wipers. Change them before the heat starts. Clean your windows and light covers regularly and don’t use dry cloths on plastic lamp covers, it will scratch them. That rainy weather, fog, and high humidity also mean less visibility for all drivers, so make sure all your lights are working on your vehicle. Remember to check the taillights as well, not just the headlights. A tip if you are alone — carefully back up to a white garage door and you will be able to see your taillights, brake lights, and even your white reverse lights as you back up. Put the vehicle in park before you start checking lights, otherwise, you might be buying a new garage door!
Tires and Brakes — Tires need to be checked for wear and proper pressure on a regular basis. Tire pressures go up as the temperature rises, so make sure to remove some of that wintertime air or they will be overinflated. Get an inspection done if you notice any abnormal wear on your tires or the vehicle seems to wander or drift in one direction or another. Also, brakes won’t last forever, even if you never use them. If you hear any rubbing sounds or your brakes don’t appear to stop you quickly, get to the service garage for an inspection.
Battery — Hot weather can be hard on batteries, it isn’t just a winter problem. You won’t get much warning if your battery is failing, so have it checked at the garage before summer comes. If you have a battery that needs a correct liquid level (they have caps which can be removed), check it periodically during the summer because the level in the battery cells may drop in hot weather. Clean off any corrosion on the top of the battery, and make sure all connections are tight. Remember that batteries contain sulfuric acid, so protect your eyes and hands when working around a battery.
Be Prepared — Finally, emergencies don’t only happen in the winter. Carry a first aid kit, flashlight, a charged mobile phone, and flares or reflective warning triangles for those times you might need them during the summer day or night. Remember to never drive on flooded roads — if you can’t see the road line markings, don’t go through the water. It only takes several inches of moving water to sweep your car off the road, so don’t take chances. Get out of your car and seek shelter if you see a tornado or are in severe weather. And, if the roads are wet or visibility is poor, slow down to a speed which will allow you to stop safely if an emergency occurs.
Doral Toyota is always ready to help you with any questions or maintenance you may need for your Toyota vehicle. Our professional trained technicians can diagnose and fix a wide range of problems, so stop by our Toyota Dealership today and get your Toyota ready for summer weather.