Hooray for summer. Sunshine, bbq, watermelon, sprinkler runs, and all sorts of other fun. What’s not fun is being stuck on the side of the road in the heat!
There is a simple way to give your car an advantage: routine inspections! Here’s a quick list to pay attention to:
Of course, checking your A/C is the first thing on the list. You haven’t used it in a while, and if it’s broken or performing poorly, you’ll want to get it fixed right away. Diagnosing the unit is easy to do, but because the system is complex, (and the fluid can be dangerious) repairs are generally best left to us professionals!
Have a good Battery
If a battery is more than three years old, we recommend getting it tested by one of our skilled technicians to determine how much longer it will last.
Heat and vibration are enemies of your car’s battery. Heat can cause your battery fluid to slowly evaporate and this can lead to other complications. Vibrations from normal car use and road conditions can sometimes cause battery cables to loosen and eventually break or come loose.
Keep an eye out for any signs of corrosion or loss of fluid (if the battery caps are removable). Always wear rubber gloves/ eye protection and avoid contact with corrosion or battery acid. If you are uncomfortable touching your battery, our shop will always take the time to check it for you.
Check them out monthly to prevent performance issues. You may not think that the warmer, less-rainy months can take a toll on your wiper blades, but the hot air can dry and crack them, making them ineffective. Last thing you want is to find out they aren’t working while you’re driving!
Keep your engine cool
Engines overheating is the number-one cause of breakdowns during the summer months. Your entire coolant system should be both flushed and refilled every 24 months, and the level, concentration, and condition of the coolant in the system should be checked periodically. Between flushes, make sure the coolant is filled to the proper level by checking the overflow reservoir.
If you are checking the coolant yourself, do not remove the radiator cap until the engine has completely cooled!
CAUTION! – NEVER REMOVE THE RADIATOR CAP WHEN THE ENGINE IS HOT – BOILING COOLANT UNDER PRESSURE COULD CAUSE SERIOUS BURNS!
Other routine checkups (belts, clamps, hoses) should be checked by a technician. If you need a top-off, stop into Hillside Auto Repair and we will take care of that for you.
Check your Tires
Every 5,000 miles you should have your tires rotated. This will ensure they wear down evenly, and that you will get the most efficient performance from them. Once a month, check the pressure on all tires (check before driving to get the most accurate reading).
Driving on under-inflated tires can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout, especially when road temperatures are extremely high.
Always follow inflation pressure recommendations in your vehicle owner’s manual or on the tire information label located in the glove box or on the driver’s door jamb. Remember to utilize that information, rather than what’s on the tire!
Examine the tires closely for tread wear. Look for worn spots, bald patches, radials poking through. Also check the sidewalls for nicks, cuts, or cupping. Be sure to also inspect your spare tire and your jack.
Make sure fluids are at appropriate levels
Periodically check all vehicle fluids, including motor oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid and brake fluid, to ensure they are at appropriate levels.
When your fluid levels are low or when they are dirty, increases the possibility of overheating. If any fluids need to be topped off, consult the manual or call our shop!
Be prepared for summer breakdowns.
Even with preventive maintenance, summer breakdowns can still occur, so AAA recommends drivers have a well-stocked emergency kit in their cars. They also have a nice brochure about what to do when you break down. Click Here! To download and read it.
Also it’s a good idea to keep our shop number, a good tow company’s number, and friends and families numbers written down in the back of your manual-in case your phone dies! (also charge your phone, talking to you teenage son!)
Always take the time to prepare your vehicle for each changing season and know that we are here for you when you do need us.