Hot summer months mean you'll want to take a few special things into consideration regarding
your car, truck or SUV. Hot weather can be extra-tough on mechanical components.
Your cooling system has to work harder to keep the engine from overheating. Tires have to perform
under scorching conditions. If you have a breakdown, you should be prepared to perform some basic repairs yourself,
or at least withstand the heat until some form of assistance arrives.
While there are many similarities between readying your vehicle for the extremes of summer and of winter,
some important differences do exist. Here's a checklist.
Remove snow tires
While snow tires work great in the winter, they're not much good in the summer months when
there's no snow on the ground. Plus, you'll wear them out much faster by using them on dry pavement. It's a good
idea to have two sets of wheels: one mounted with snow tires and one with summer or all-season tires. You can
even swap the wheels yourself since you won't have to go to a tire shop to have one set of tires removed and
another set remounted on one set of wheels, which could run $40 to $50 each time you do it.
Check the tire pressure
Tire pressure is important at all times. It's critical to have properly inflated tires,
as this assures the best possible contact between the tire and the road. Read your owner's manual to find the
correct tire pressures, and, if necessary, adjust pressures to compensate for the hotter operating conditions —
especially if you're doing lots of high-speed driving on a summer-vacation road trip. Properly inflated tires will
also last longer and improve gas mileage.
Because of summertime's higher temperatures, the air pressure in a warm tire rises. Why? Because air is a gas, and
gas expands when it heats up. Keep this in mind if you are checking tire pressures. The given tire pressure
specifications are for when the tires are cold, therefore the pressure should be checked when the tires are cold.
Also, an improperly inflated tire can heat excessively, potentially leading to a blow-out on the highway.
Change the engine oil and adjust the viscosity grade
This isn't as hard as it sounds. Viscosity refers to the
thickness of the oil. For example, maple syrup has a higher viscosity than water. Engine oils are sold with different
levels of viscosity, and many of them are also multi-viscous, which means the oil's thickness can change depending on
its temperature. Generally speaking, the warmer the oil is, the thinner it will be. If the oil is too thin, the engine
might not get the proper lubrication.
To solve this summertime issue, you can change your vehicle's engine oil to one that is a little thicker. Even when the
thicker oil is cold, it is still not too thick for proper engine lubrication.
Determining what type of oil your car should have during the summer is easy. Simply read your vehicle's owner's manual.
The manual will list the manufacturer's oil recommendations for different climates. If you have a dealership or local
garage perform the oil change, you can ask the manager what type and viscosity of oil they are putting into your vehicle.
Most modern cars have recommended oil grades of 5W-30, 10W-30 or 10W-40 which are all multi-viscous grades.
Inspect the belts and hoses
The belts and hoses in modern cars last a long time. But that doesn't mean they don't
have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you're not
sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.
Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid
Visibility is always important and our experience tells us that summer storms can
be quite severe in some parts of the country. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is one year. If your car's blades are
dried out and not making full contact with the windshield, replace them.
Also check and fill your wiper fluid reservoir. A summertime thunderstorm isn't the best time to run out of wiper fluid or
to discover your blades aren't performing properly.
Check the battery
A battery gives little warning before it goes dead. And it'll likely do so when you least expect it.
Hot weather can put additional strain on a battery similar to what is experienced in cold weather. If your vehicle battery
is more than three years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and
connections are free of corrosion. If you're embarking on a long trip, consider replacing the battery if you don't know how
old it is. These days, batteries are not very expensive, and it's cheap insurance when you're out on the open road. We also
recommend that you always carry jumper cables, as mentioned below in the emergency kit section.
Check coolant/antifreeze mixture
The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle's radiator is 50:50. If the
mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised.
If you were to put pure water in your vehicle's radiator, it would boil at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. But if you combine the
water with an equal amount of antifreeze, the new mixture boils at a much higher temperature.
You can check the composition of a radiator's mixture by using an antifreeze tester. You can find these at all auto parts
stores, and they are inexpensive and easy to use. If the mixture's balance is off, adjust it by adding either coolant or water.
Carry an emergency kit inside your car
Things you might consider carrying include the following:
A flashlight, flares and a first-aid kit
Extra clothes and gloves
Extra washer fluid
Food and water
Basic tools like wrenches, a ratchet and sockets, screwdrivers and pliers or Vise-Grips
Easy Rider Service Center has been serving the Northport area at the same location for almost 16 years. We can service your car,
keep your warranty valid & stamp your maintenance book. We offer free shuttle service, as well as pickup and drop-off service. We are
fully equipped with factory scan and diagnostic equipment for all American made cars & Asian cars. We also have an extensvie line of
foreign scan and diagnostic equipment for Mercedes Benz, Jaguar, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Saab and more.
Easy Rider Service Center
361 Fort Salonga Rd. (Corner of Elwood Rd. and 25A)