It’s summer time, and the weather is hot. We all know how the words to that old song go, but not everyone is as familiar with how the warmer weather can impact your car’s performance and reliability. With summer’s prime driving season upon us, it’s more important than ever to make sure your car is in tiptop shape.
More kilometres are traveled during the summer months than during any other time of year. As a result, it is important to make sure your car or truck is capable of handling the extra odometer stress. Fortunately, a service appointment at your local dealership is a great one-stop way to have your car inspected, make sure all of its maintenance is up-to-date and ensure it is capable of performing at its best.
One of the first things dealership technicians will verify during a summer inspection is the state of your vehicle’s tires. The extra heat thrown off by the pavement during the warmer months of the year can add additional stress to tire rubber that is worn out or nearing its replacement date. Dealership personnel can verify that there are no cracks or divots in the tire sidewalls, and that there is enough tread life remaining to see you through the season.
This last point is also crucial for dealing with any rainstorms you might encounter while out on the highway – bald tires are a significant contributor to hydroplaning, which can see you lose control of your car when encountering standing water or heavy rain. Technicians will also verify that each of your tires is filled with exactly the right amount of air, as too much or too little can contribute to excessive tread wear, as well as lower fuel economy.
The next stage for most summer tune-ups takes place under the hood where your vehicle’s air filter will be inspected to determine whether it must be replaced. As the summer usually brings with it road construction and drier air that can create dust, it is often the case that an air filter will have become choked with that dust and other road debris. Less clean air making it into your engine means less power being produced, and while the drop in horsepower might be so gradual as to be difficult for you to notice while it is happening, what you will pick up on is just how much better your fuel mileage gets with a brand-new air filter installed.
Other engine-related summer maintenance items that can influence your car’s fuel consumption include spark plugs and fuel filters. The former can be easily pulled and checked to make sure they haven’t become coated with carbon, which can degrade their ability to provide a powerful spark. Spark plugs are inexpensive to replace and their inspection should be part of any regular maintenance schedule. Fuel filters strain out any impurities in the gasoline you put in your car. If they become clogged, they can limit or block the flow of gasoline to your car’s engine, severely impacting power and gas mileage. Once again, this item is cheap and quick to replace in the majority of cases and can improve both the idle and the acceleration of your vehicle, in addition to fuel economy.
In addition to performing the standard brake pad, rotor and fluid checks that should be done every time you have your automobile in for servicing, one of the final things that dealership technicians will verify as being in good working order are your car’s cooling and air conditioning systems. When the mercury starts to climb, you need a radiator that can handle the task of keeping your engine cool enough to perform safely. Not only should the radiator be checked for leaks, but all the hoses in the engine compartment also need to be inspected to make sure they are fit for duty. The coolant in the car should be tested to validate that it is in good enough shape to handle the extra work during the summer months.
Summer car maintenance doesn’t have to be complicated – in fact, getting your car ready for the hottest and busiest driving season is as simple as stopping in at your dealership and putting yourself in their capable hands.