Keep your car healthy in the summer

Would you rather run outside in spring or summer? If you’re like most people, you said: “Spring!” Everything feels more exhausting when you’re covered in sweat, because it’s 80 or 90 degrees outside. Activities feel less difficult when the temperature is mild.

The same fact is true for your car. Hot temperatures put stress on your tires, engine, battery, and more. Does that concern you? It should! Here are three creative ways to keep your car healthy in the summer. (#2 could save you from breaking down during your summer vacation.)

Keep a close eye on your temperature gauge

I know this sounds backwards, but cranking up your A/C can cause your engine’s temperature to rise. This is especially true when you’re driving a long distance or living somewhere hot.

When your temperature gauge gets too close to the “H,” turn off your A/C and crank up the heat.

That can help pull heat from the engine into the cabin and spare you from a car breakdown.

Check your fluids before you take a long trip

The engine is your car’s heart and motor oil is the blood that keeps it running. Run out and you’re dead! Coolant (a.k.a. antifreeze) is your car’s circulatory system and its #1 responsibility is to keep your car cool.

If your engine overheats, please pull over immediately. Continuing to drive – even for a minute or two – could cause critical damage. It costs anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 to replace your engine. Worth the risk? No way!

How can you prevent this? Dig out the owner’s manual for your vehicle. There will be a diagram that labels your engine parts. Note the location of your fluids and instructions for how to check them. If you get confused, ask a mechanic to show you how. Don’t be shy—they’ll be happy to help!

Make sure your tires are properly inflated

Having under or over-inflated tires increases the risk of getting in a traffic accident. This is always true; but it’s a really big deal in summer, because heat has a detrimental impact on your tire pressure.

The next time you get in your car, look down. There should be a sticker on your door jam (the surface between your door and car seat) that contains detail about size and the appropriate pressure for your tire and spare. Grab a tire pressure gauge (if you don’t have one already, get one — they’re cheap) to confirm your inflation matches the numbers on that sticker. If not, make a pit stop at your favorite auto shop to inflate them. Devoting a few minutes to prevention could save you a super inconvenient situation later.