Morgan Pritchett
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5 Common Car Maintenance Issues in Summer

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Man on cell phone sitting on hood of broken down vehicle
Avoid calling for help by taking preemptive measures with your car

Summer is the season of slowing down and taking it easy. But when it comes to car maintenance, you can’t let things slide. The increasing temperatures can take a serious toll on your vehicle, causing certain parts to partially break or stop working entirely. It’s best to be aware of some of the most common issues you may face in the coming months.  

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1. Air conditioning failure

This should be obvious, but it’s worth noting that your car’s air conditioning system works extra hard during the summer. If you notice that the air isn’t as cold as it used to be or it’s just blowing hot air at you, the system may need to be recharged or parts might need to be replaced.

To help ease the strain of summer heat on the A/C system, try rolling the windows down for the first couple miles of your journey to let the hot air out. As your car sits in the sun, the air inside the cabin gets exponentially hotter than it is outside. Letting that air out and then turning on the air conditioning with the windows up means your car has to do less work.

2. Overheating

You’re not the only one who would prefer to stay cool during the summer. Your car’s engine needs to stay at an optimal temperature in order to work properly. If you notice what appears to be smoke (but is actually vapor) coming out from under the hood, your car may be overheating. Staying on top of your car’s coolant levels will help keep the engine from getting too hot.

Note: Do not immediately open the hood if your car is overheating, as the incredibly hot coolant could splatter onto you and burn your skin!

3. Tire blowouts

For some reason, most people only think of tire care during the winter. Sure, snow and ice make the roads slick, but tires are just as important during the summer. If the temperature has been rising and falling dramatically, the change in air pressure could also cause your car’s tires to raise and lower.

Driving on overinflated tires makes them more susceptible to damage from potholes or debris and could lead to blowouts, which are incredibly dangerous. On the flip side, underinflated tires can cause your vehicle to lose traction on the road. Keep an eye on tire pressure (as well as tread wear) and check the owner’s manual to inflate the tires to an optimal PSI.

Close up of flat tire on pavement
Don’t let this happen to you this summer

4. Worn out wipers

After getting through a sopping wet spring, your car’s windshield wipers might need some love and attention. Be sure to check them for cracks or warping to ensure you’ll be safe in the event of a surprise summer storm. Most manufacturers recommend replacing wipers every six months, so if you skipped the springtime replacement, don’t put it off any longer. 

5. Battery failure

Contrary to popular belief, car batteries actually suffer more during hotter months than they do in the chill of winter. Parking in shaded areas like a garage, a car port, or even under a large tree can help your battery out in the long run. Another way to extend the life of your car’s battery is to ensure that it’s securely mounted under the hood, as excessive vibration can cause components of the battery to crack or break.

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Now that COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available in the U.S., domestic travel is expected to rise even more this summer. Whether it’s a road trip across the country or a short weekend trip to the beach, it’s vital that you’re aware of the potential issues your car could face.