Temperatures are expected to reach record high levels again this summer, so now is the time to make sure your vehicle is ready to handle another Texas summer. As you prepare for your summer road trips, don’t forget about your car. These auto maintenance tips will help maintain automobile safety, make your vehicle run smoother, and avoid costly auto repairs.
Inspect the AC system
Does the air blowing out from your auto air conditioning system feel as cold as it should? Driving in high temperatures can cause your AC hoses and seals to deteriorate faster than normal. In turn, a leaky system could damage the air compressor leading to a costly auto air conditioning repair cost.
In 1994, the use of a refrigerant called Freon (or R-12) was banned because it contains chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), a destructive chemical compound. R-12 refrigerant was replaced with a safer and more efficient one called R-134a. In the past, it wasn’t usual for owners to have their auto air conditioning recharged instead of having their car ac repaired. Because the AC units in today’s cars are complicated, it’s best to have a professional mechanic inspect the system if the air conditioning system isn’t blowing cold air.
CHECK THE COOLANT AND RADIATOR
To keep your vehicle from overheating, it stands to reason that the cooling system in your car or truck will work harder in the summer than it would in the winter. While your engine is designed to run hot, there is a limit to much heat is can take.
If the engine gets too hot, bad things can happen inside your engine because moving metal parts can melt and fuse together. Idling in traffic for a long period of time on a hot summer day is a recipe for making your car overheat. Besides coolant, your engine also needs air flowing across it to help keep it cool. This isn’t a problem for a properly maintained cooling system. However, problems like a leaking radiator or hose, low coolant levels, a loose engine belt, or a faulty car radiator cap can cause your engine to overheat and break down.
To keep it’s cool, the radiator should have a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water. Maintaining this ratio keeps your cooling system’s boiling point high. To protect your engine, have your coolant flushed; you should flush your radiator and add new coolant at least every other year. This includes new cars too. Flushing the car radiator is done with a special chemical that removes gunk on the inside of the radiator.
Finally, if you see coolant puddling under your parked vehicle, you have a cooling problem like a radiator leak. Coolant is toxic to people and pets, so you should have your system inspected and repaired as soon as possible. A mechanic at an AAA Approved Repair facilty can explain all of the details included in an auto ac repair and give you an estimate of your car radiator repair cost ahead of time.
CHECK YOUR TIRES
In the summer, the danger of driving on worn or improperly inflated tires is heightened. This is where staying on top of your tire balancing and your wheel alignment schedule pays off. As you drive, friction and heat will make the air pressure in your tires go up and because air is a gas it will expand as it heats. Also, if your front wheel alignment isn’t correct, you will experience problems with uneven tire wear.
Each month, be sure to visually inspect your tires for wear or damage and check the pressure with a tire gauge or have a service shop perform this tire service for you to avoid problems. Also remember to inspect your spare tire. Tire pressure affects both traction and gas mileage. For everyone’s safety, you should keep your tires properly inflated to maintain proper handling and prevent a tire failure.
CHECK THE BATTERY
Hot weather can be just as hard on your car battery as cold weather, so it’s a good idea to have it tested by an auto repair shop at least once a year. Summer heat evaporates internal fluid and damages it. Heat also can shorten its lifespan by speeding up internal chemical reactions.
The best way to keep your battery running smoothly is to check for corrosion around the terminals and clean them if necessary with a paste made from baking soda and water. Also make sure all connections are tight. To be safe, keep a set of jumper cables in the trunk and learn how to jump a car battery by reading your owner’s manual. Lastly, if you think your battery isn’t holding a charge like it should, take it to a service shop for an inspection.
This is just a partial list of things to inspect. Other items could include addressing a check engine light or replacing your windshield wipers. If your have any questions, always check your owner’s manual to determine your manufacturer’s recommended car maintenance schedule. Preventative vehicle maintenance is the key enjoying a worry free, breakdown-free summer and will keep you smiling as you drive down the road.
We enjoy driving and a properly maintained car keeps the party rolling by extending the life of your vehicle and by helping it retain its value. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or a new driver, we’re here to help.
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