April 20, 2015
The weather is slowly warming up and soon enough you’ll be blasted with a heat wave every time you open your car in the morning. You think winter is tough on your car? The high summer temperatures are just as tough! Our Maryland auto repair specialists are here today to offer you a few tips on how to make sure your car makes it through the summer with flying colors.
Inspect Your Tires
We’ve written a detailed post about tire maintenance recently, and here is a quick summary. Inspect your tires before the hot summer days roll in. The three things you should be checking for include tire pressure, tire tread and tire balance. Look at your tires up close and inspect the depth of the tread. Most tires these days have a special tread wear indicator bar inside the tread. Once the tread depth comes close to or levels with this bar, it’s time for new tires.
Hot summer weather is also brutal on under-inflated tires that tend to blow up at high speeds. Check the tire pressure regularly and do your best to watch out and break for potholes. Tire rotation will also help ensure more even tire wear.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers
Summer thunderstorms can be rather severe in Maryland. So severe, in fact, that even if you are going 45mph on a highway, your windshield wipers can barely keep up. This is not the time to have one of your wipers start slacking on the job. Most wiper blades are only designed to last up to a year until they start failing. And considering that cold weather is tough on rubber (and this winter was very cold in Maryland), your wipers are probably starting to deteriorate by now. Thankfully, wiper replacement is a relatively straightforward procedure—just make sure to purchase the right size of blades for your vehicle.
Check Your AC System
Your vehicle’s air conditioning system is something you rely heavily on during hot Maryland summers. If it doesn’t work (or doesn’t make air cool enough), you risk getting to work sweaty and aggravated every morning. Getting baked alive in your car is not the best way to start your day, don’t you agree?
Your vehicle’s AC system consists of air intake, condenser, evaporator, air blower, refrigerant and a number of tubes, hoses and other components. Sometimes, refrigerant may leak and needs to be recharged after the leak is repaired. Feel free to bring your car to one of our Maryland auto repair shops, and our technicians will check your vehicle’s refrigerant level. Be sure to test your AC long before you actually need to use it, so that if there are any problems, you can get them fixed before the summer arrives.
Get Your Cooling System Serviced
An effective and efficient cooling system is crucial for your vehicle’s performance during summer months. An overheated engine is one of the top causes of car breakdown in the summer. And going back to our point about AC, the last thing you want in summer is to be stranded on the side of the road mid-afternoon next to a smoking car.
Don’t confuse the cooling system with AC. The cooling system circulates a 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and water to cool the engine. The AC system uses refrigerant, such as freon, to cool the air inside your car’s cabin. The cooling system has to be serviced every 2 years or every 30,000 miles. It may be different in some vehicles, so check with your owner’s manual to see if your car is approaching this milestone. During the service, all hoses and belts are checked, pressure is tested and coolant mixture is flushed and refilled. This process helps prevent scale buildup and corrosion within the system, which reduces the chance of system malfunction or failure.
OK, maybe having a sparkling clean car doesn’t affect it’s summer road performance, but you have to agree that it FEELS like it’s driving a lot smoother when it’s clean. Whether you take it to a car wash or soap it up and hose it down the old-school way, add your car to your spring cleaning list. There is a lot of dirt, grime and salt that gets stuck in cracks and crevices over the winter. Don’t forget to lift your hood and remove all those leaves, twigs and pine needles hiding between the radiator fins. And remember to wipe your windows from the inside—they are probably covered in hand prints or drawings from your passenger fascinated with condensation.
Need help with any of the above? Contact one of Hillmuth Certified Automotive locations in Clarksville, Columbia, Gaithersburg or Glenwood.