Feeling the heat? The days will only continue to get hotter as the summer months roll through. While you can choose to dress lighter, hydrate more, and turn on the air conditioning to beat the heat, there are also ways to prepare your vehicle for the searing rays of the sun, and to ensure that your drive is as cool and comfortable as can be.
Here we will cover several things that you can do in order to prepare your vehicle for summer, whether it’s because of an out-of-town trip or a daily drive in traffic, here are some things that you can and should do to keep your car running comfy, and cool.
Perhaps the most important part of your automotive maintenance routine is to get a nice batch of nice new oil. Oil doesn’t just lubricate your engine’s internals, it also absorbs and transports heat away from your motor, thus keeping it cool, and working in tandem with the cooling system of your car.
This is one of the items that you should definitely have done before you commit to driving under the sun for a long time. Check with your mechanic if you’re close to your next oil change interval. Even if you’re not yet at the limit of your current interval, it would be good to jump the gun and change your oil early, especially since the summer months can be extremely taxing on engine fluids and the engine itself.
Coolant flush and replacement
While oil is the most common thing to get changed, coolant is the other often-forgotten fluid that motorists tend to skip out on, not because they forget it, but because it’s not an often-changed item, in which cars only require a change every year or so. While oil should be changed every time, coolant is usually changed every other maintenance interval or after close to two years depending on your vehicle.
Be sure the check your coolant level before entering your car for daily-driving duties during the summer season. Coolant is an extremely important fluid, so it’s best not to forget it. Be sure to consult your owner's manual or dealer as to what coolant is right for your engine. Not all fluids are made equal for your car, so perhaps the best-case scenario is to have your dealer take care o that choice for you.
Bleed the brakes
Brakes are also another item that deals with a lot of heat while out on a drive. Ideally, brake fluid should be flushed and replaced every year, but people tend to forget about it due to the brakes “feeling okay.” Going with this notion can be dangerous especially when the temperatures start rising in the summer. A good indication that your brake fluid is in need of replacement is its color of it. If it’s dark and murky, then it’s probably time for a flush. If it’s dark but still relatively clear, you’re more or less safe. However, if there is air in your braking system it can cause your car’s pedal to feel mushy and unresponsive after a bit of hard braking.
The heat from the sun can cause unwanted wear on your braking system, and it can also cause your brake fluid to boil when it is hot enough. As such, you want to get fresh fluid in your system to ensure your car’s stopping power. Also, have your pads checked out as well, and make sure that you go with a DOT4 brake fluid as it is more resistant to heat than DOT3. Though we cannot deny that new fluid is new fluid, so whatever you choose, just know the benefits of going for DOT4 over DOT3 so you’re aware of what you’re getting yourself into.
While getting tint will help you combat the summer sun, do keep in mind that there are limits to how dark film can be. Not only does extremely dark tint hamper your ability to see at night, but it can also be illegal as it poses a safety risk for you and for other motorists when driving conditions are not so great.
Automotive window tint will help keep your car cool while you drive, and it will control the amount of heat that enters your car while it’s parked out under the sun. Whether you choose to go with a light tint or a dark tint is up to you, but remember to consider the legality of extremely dark films before you pull the trigger as it may get you into trouble with the law. However, getting window tint for your car is extremely helpful when it comes to combating the heat of the sun. It also ensures that your air conditioning system isn’t overworked all the time trying to cool down the cabin.
Car cover or window shade
While getting your car ready for a drive is one thing, storing your car is another. To prevent your interior and paint from getting heat damaged, a car cover or a window shade is your best friend. Whether you’re team car cover or team window visor is up to you. Both have their own benefits, but the end goal in the summer is the same, to reject the rays of the sun and say no to heat damage. While the sun shade will keep your cabin covered, a car cover offers full protection from heat, including the paint job of your vehicle.
Over time, and given enough exposure, the plastics in your car’s cabin may melt. On the flip side, if things get too hot your paint might also get scorched. If you don’t have access to a shaded parking area, perhaps it would be best to keep your car protected and covered while it’s left sitting.