Car Care: End-of-Summer Vehicle Maintenance Tips
As the summer sunshine begins to fade, the time comes again when your car requires seasonal maintenance. After the sweltering temperatures and long drives of summer, you should treat your vehicle with the care it needs to run for many more seasons. These are the most important end-of-summer maintenance tasks to perform on your car.
Buy new wipers
The summer heat can dry out the rubber blades on your car’s windshield wipers, leading to small cracks that reduce their effectiveness. Consumer Reports recommends changing out the blades for a new set every 6-12 months, depending on the temperature and weather conditions they faced. If that doesn’t solve the condition, buy a new winter-ready set.
Clean off the battery
A dead battery can leave you stranded at the worst time of the year, so make sure your car’s battery is ready to power through the coming months. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence suggests that you ensure its connections are optimally functioning. Clean off the nodes, tighten the bolts and brush away any corrosion from the posts. Come in and have a mechanic test the battery’s charge in case it needs to be boosted or replaced.
Inspect the tires
If you spent a lot of time on the road this summer, or haven’t replaced the tires in multiple years, inspect the tread on your car’s tires. Consumer Reports recommends buying new tires if there’s less than a 1/8-inch of tread left on them. Even if the tread on your current tires looks fine, schedule an appointment with us to make sure they’re properly inflated and aren’t displaying any suspicious lumps or abrasions.
Schedule an oil change
Depending on how often or rigorously you drive, your vehicle will need an oil change about once every season. So, take this time as a reminder to schedule an oil change. Flushing the soiled sludge from the engine and replacing it with new, clean oil is one of the best things you can do for your car.
Inspect the HVAC system
You never ran the heater or defroster during the summer, but if you wait until you need them, you might get stranded with a frozen car. Suzanne Kane, contributor to The Car Connection, stresses the importance of checking that these functions work properly while you still have time to get them repaired before winter.
Check under the hood
A lot can go wrong under the hood of a car, so it’s important to perform a thorough look-over now and then — especially after summer and winter. Look for leaks, cracks, loose connections, and anything that generally looks suspicious. Also check fluids levels, particularly coolant and wiper fluid, which may have depleted over the summer.
By keeping up with seasonal maintenance, you’re helping your car run smoothly for many seasons to come.
This article is presented by Mullinax Ford