Top Summer Car Maintenance Tips
Dr. Johnny’s Car Clinic: Your top summer car maintenance tips
Summer’s here! That means the American tradition of road trips and vacations have begun. To help make sure your trip is an uneventful one, here are my top 10 tips for summer car maintenance.
1. Check your tires. Where the rubber meets the road, your tires are often the most overlooked feature of your car. Under- or over-inflated tires, and/or ones that are worn down or misaligned can be the recipe for danger, especially in hotter weather. I highly recommend using nitro fill for all your tires, which is approximately $30-$40 for all four tires. At my shop, we’ll fill your four tires with nitro for $29.95.
2. Change the oil and oil filter. It’s the oil that helps keep the moving parts of your engine running smoothly and cleanly, not to mention keeping your engine cool. Check your owner’s manual or with your technician for when to have your oil and oil filter changed. Remember oil has four major fuctions: it cools, it cleans, it lubricates, and it seals. Oil is the life blood of your engine.
3. Check hoses and belts. A cool engine is optimum, so making sure the hoses that connect to the radiator and from the engine block are not damaged is critical. These hoses are the means for the coolant to do its job. Check the belts that run the fan to make sure they are in good shape. If either of these crack or snap, your radiator will quickly overheat.
4. Check the air filter. If your car’s air filter is dirty and/or clogged, your gas mileage and efficiency is decreased by as much as 10 percent!
5. Check windshield wipers. We’ve all driven in the heavy downpours of Florida’s summer rains. Having windshield wipers that do their job is important for your safety. Did you know that especially at night, rain can decrease your visibility up to 20 feet in front of your car?
6. Check your brakes. These are by far the most important safety feature of your car. It’s important to check the brake pads and linings. Your trusted technician can do a thorough inspection to help ensure a safe trip for you.
7. Check coolants. As we all know, summer is tough on coolants. Sitting in traffic on a hot day is one of the quickest ways to overheat your car. That’s why it’s important to check the antifreeze levels, and to refer to your trusted technician or owner’s manual for when it’s time to have the system flushed.
8. Check your battery. Actually, summertime is hardest on your car’s battery because higher temperatures help speed up your battery’s interior chemical reactions, causing it to overcharge. Heat also damages your battery by evaporating the battery fluid. That’s why it’s important to make sure the cables and terminals are checked and the terminals wiped clean. Your trusted technician can also check to make sure your battery isn’t overcharged or if it isn’t holding the charge well.
9. Check the air-conditioning. By checking to make sure your refrigerant levels are good, you can avoid most problems. Looking at the level will also tell you right away if there is a leak in the system, and that’s when your trusted technician needs to do a thorough inspection.
10. Emergency roadside kit. Sometimes your car develops a problem while you’re on the road, so you should have the following items handy: jumper cables, jack and tire iron, a can of “Fix-a-Flat,” water for the radiator and yourself, emergency flares, a flashlight, a blanket and towel, screwdrivers and wrenches of various sizes and a roll of duct tape.
Johnny Nocera has been on the radio airwaves in Southwest Florida with “Dr. Johnny’s Car Clinic” on FOX News radio 92.5 FM, 1240/1270 AM every Saturday morning from 9-10 for more than 35 years. He also owns, along with his sons JR and Jimmy, Supreme Auto and Collision in downtown Naples, and has been in business for more than 37 years. Submit your automotive questions via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.