Summer car care tips

budds summerOne thing car owners don’t need to worry about in summer is salt. It’s not getting carried into the car on the soles of boots and it’s not getting trapped in crevices under the bodywork. That means a lot less rust and cleaning.

But it doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Your car still needs some tender, loving care to keep it safe and running well. At Budds’, here’s what we suggest.

Windows

Over time plastics used in car interiors give off chemicals that create a haze on the glass. (It’s a particular problem with the steeply-raked windshield.) This can make it hard to see out when the sun’s low in the sky, so it’s a safety issue. Grab a microfiber cloth and some glass cleaner and spend a few minutes getting that glass clean again.

Tire pressures

You should be checking your pressures every month and not just in the summertime. But let’s be honest—it’s more pleasant to do it when the temperature’s above freezing.

Plus, if you haven’t checked them in a while you may find hot weather has raised the pressures well above what the manufacturer recommends. Over-inflation shrinks the contact patch, so braking distances could lengthen. You’ll likely find the ride firmer too.

While fiddling with the valve caps, don’t forget to check the tread depth. If it’s 2.0 mm or less start thinking about new tires.

Fluid levels

When did you last check the coolant? If it’s been a while this would be a good time. You don’t want your car overheating on a sticky summer day. A word of warning though: don’t top up with water. The highly-engineered cooling systems in modern cars are picky about the fluid you put in. If the level looks low, bring the car to us. (We’ll also look around to make sure there are no leaks anywhere.)

Washer fluid is another one to top-off, and don’t forget to check the oil level while you’re at it. If you know where to find them, check the brake and power steering fluid as well. Or ask us to do it for you.

Oil change

Engine oil becomes thinner at high temperatures, and that can lead to more wear and tear. If the oil hasn’t been replaced for six months or longer, summer is a good time to get it done. And if you don’t drive many miles that doesn’t mean you can put it off. It’s those starts and stops that wear out the oil, not miles on the highway.

Cabin air filter

budds summer roadMost people don’t realize their car has one of these until they can’t get cool air into the cabin. This filter traps small particles that people have allergies to, like pollen. Over time though it clogs up, and that’s when you stop getting fresh air.

In most cars replacing the cabin air filter is a straightforward job, providing you know what to buy and where it goes. If in doubt, ask us.

A/C checkup and charge

If the air’s blowing but not getting cold you may have an A/C problem. While there are many causes, if the car is more than a couple of years old it could be the system is low on refrigerant gas. We can connect a gauge to the system and tell you if that’s the problem. If it is, we can also top it up for you.

Battery condition

Car batteries rely on chemical processes to store and release electrical energy, and if you took any chemistry classes you’ll know that temperature often has a big effect on chemical reactions. High temperatures can significantly reduce how much charge your battery can hold. If you’re having starting problems, it’s time to get the battery tested.

Protect against sunlight

Most of us are glad to see the sun, but your car isn’t. UV rays in sunlight will fade bright paint colors and can damage interior plastics. A coat of wax protects the paint, and as for the interior, consider getting one of those folding sunscreens that go up against the windshield.

Summertime is car maintenance time

If you like to do your own car maintenance you’ll know it’s not much fun doing it in the winter. Rather than putting off those jobs, get them done while the weather’s warm and it’s good to be outdoors.

Or if you don’t have the time or inclination, bring your car into Budds’ Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC. We know what needs doing—and we’d be happy to do it for you.