Getting Your Car Ready for Summer

By Brandon Baldwin

              Since the weather is better for working on your car and working outside, this is the best time of year to perform some maintenance.

Checklist:

**Change the coolant if it’s close to due.  Make sure you use the correct kind recommend for your car.

**Check those tires!  You shouldn’t use snow tires in the summer anyway since they aren’t designed for the hot weather.  Unless you are at 5/32″ or less, then use them up and put on a new set this fall.  Recheck the pressure too, since it’s normal to inflate the tires to compensate for the cold.  Time to go the other direction.

**Silicone those door and window seals.  Oh, and the trunk seal too.

**Clean, clean, and more cleaning.  Now you can finally clean the windows on the inside without the Windex freezing.  Don’t forget the paint job either.  Waxing isn’t just for the snow, but for the finish for sun protection too.  You can finally get that stuff that sits on the body you only see when the trunk lid is open too.  Make sure you spray generously up and in your fenders to get the road filth out.   

**If you are going on a trip, check the spare tire pressure.  Every vehicle I have ever checked the spare for a trip has been empty, or nearly empty.  Tires that don’t get used loose air.  

**Check all your coolant hoses, and clamps especially this time of year.  The hotter it is, the more pressure that is in the system.  I just worked on a car today that the hose clamp didn’t hold well enough and the pressure blew the hose off the radiator.  I wish they would have stopped immediately, but no, they drove it home.  This may turn into catastrophic failure.  

**This time of year, you will especially notice if your air conditioning isn’t working.  If the fire from the vents isn’t as cool as it used to be, time to bring it into a shop that is certified to work on A/C. I’ve had many people tell me that “it’s blowing hot air!”  No, not unless the heater is on too.  Your car pulls air from the vent intake which are those openings near the base of the windshield.  That spot can be very hot, especially if the car is moving slow, the heat of the sun increases the heat of the hood (right before the vents) and the engine heat that may seep up the same area.  When your car is low on refrigerant, which is the chemical which carries the heat, it can’t carry as much heat, which is why you aren’t getting as cool.

**Speaking of cool, if you do find yourself with an overheating problem, and the car has electric fans, you can use this to your advantage.  If the car tends to heat up more when not moving, turn on the defogger to hot.  This will make the A/C run, which will turn the fans on, but the hot air will come into the car.  Yes, you will be uncomfortable, but your car might continue to live.  Your heater runs directly off the block of the car before the thermostat.  That’s why it can be effective on lowering your engine temperature.  Still, if you loose the coolant, stop the car and turn it off.  Do not take the radiator cap off.  You want to maintain the pressure so the coolant, hopefully, doesn’t boil.  

**If you can avoid it, don’t use the winter gas in your car during the summer.  It has more ethanol content, which can boil around the engine bay, right in the fuel lines themselves.  Once that happens, you loose fuel pressure and create a lean condition, hence no power or even stalling.  

Have a good summer.

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