Summer’s heat, high humidity, dust, heavy rain, and stop-and-go traffic take a toll on your car. Fortunately, you can help minimize the odds of mechanical failure by getting your car ready for summer. Keep your car on the road – not stranded beside it.
1. Check your Cooling System
The biggest cause of summer auto breakdowns is overheating. We recommend you completely flush and refill the cooling system every 24 months. However, you should check the condition, level, and concentration of coolant periodically to ensure a good 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze. While you can check the fluid level by removing the radiator cap, it is recommended that drive belts, hoses, and clamps be checked by a professional. Even if you think you can get your car ready for summer on your own, it’s better to trust a professional than create additional car repairs.
2. Change your Transmission Fluid
If your car has an automatic transmission, check your owner’s manual to determine how to check the fluid level. ATF should be a bright shade of red, and at the level recommended by the manufacturer. Too little fluid can burn out the torque converter, while excess fluid can cause overpressure issues, like slippage and rough shifting. Get the fluid checked by professionals to ensure that it is refilled with the right mix as indicated by the SAE number in your owner’s manual.
3. Change Oil and Filters
Regular engine oil should last between 4,000 and 5,000 miles with no problem (3,000 miles if you make extended trips with much luggage, tow a trailer, or make frequent short trips). Synthetics can reach 6,000 – 7,000 miles between changes. Check the oil level and color by pulling out the dipstick. If amber in color, ensure that it’s at the right level. If it’s black, consider getting it changed. Also change the oil filter, air filter, and other filters (fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended.
4. Check your Brakes
You should inspect your brakes every 6 months or sooner if you notice noises, pulsations, grabbing, or longer stopping distance. This is often caused by wear due to extreme temperature differences during winter. You should remove the wheels to perform proper brake inspection.
5. Change your Tires
Your tires have a considerable impact on safety and performance. Worn or under-inflated tires can interfere with handling and braking, and even lead to blow-outs when speeding. If you have different sets of summer and winter, inspect the rubber when swapping them out. If you use all-season tires, check for uneven wear, bubbles in the sidewalls, or visible wear bars, and replace if needed. Ensure that your spare tire is in good condition.
Timely inspection and maintenance of your transmission is important to avoid expensive repairs. Getting your car ready for summer can save you a lot of time, money, and heartache. If you notice something unusual about your transmission or fluid, bring your car to Pro-Tech Transmissions for maintenance.