No matter what type of car you drive — a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Porsche or other brand — there is one thing they all have in common: they all need a little TLC to prepare them for the coming summer months.
Here in Florida, especially, the heat can be brutal, getting above 100 degrees Fahrenheit on a near daily basis. To ensure both you and your vehicle make it through the season feeling cool and collected, here are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind.
1. Inspect your air conditioner. Even if it seems to be working just fine, it is worth bringing it to your favorite local automotive repair shop — like Auto Works of Brandon — to give it the once-over.
You’ll want to have all the systems checked to make sure they are in good condition, change any filters that are looking a bit dingy, and ensure all of the fluids are topped off and ready to go.
You don’t want to discover a problem with your air conditioner when it’s 110 degrees and you need to drive.
2. Check your coolant system. The single biggest cause of summertime breakdowns is a coolant system that isn’t working properly.
In general, you want to completely flush and refill all the fluids in this system every 24 months, but you will also want to regularly check to ensure the level, condition and concentration of coolants are all where it should be for optimal performance.
And while you can check the fluid levels at home, you will want to have the condition of parts like the drive belts, clamps and hoses checked by an auto repair professional.
3. Get an oil change. This might seem obvious, since it should just be part of the routine maintenance of your vehicle, but it’s particularly important as we come into the summer months.
Depending on how much you drive, heat can speed up the degradation of your oil, so consider having it checked every 3,000 miles at a minimum, and more often if you can manage it during the summer.
4. Check your tires. If you live in Florida year-round, the odds are good you don’t have winter tires you need to change out, but if you drive back and forth between the northern and southern states, you’ll want to make sure you change those tires out now.
You will wear your snow tires out far too quickly if you drive them on the hot pavement of summer.
Beyond the type of tires, it is crucial to ensure the air pressure is correct for all of your tires.
Not only does a properly inflated tire have better grip on the pavement during all types of weather, but improperly inflated tires — under or over — increases the chance of overheating, which in turn leads to blowouts, usually when you’re going at higher speeds, such as on the interstate.
Look in your owner’s manual or on the inside of the driver’s side door to see what tire pressure your specific vehicle should run with.
5. Give it a good cleaning. Finally, the summer months are a great time to give your entire vehicle a once-over.
Have it professionally detailed, especially if you’ve done any driving in states that use salt on the roads during the winter months, to make sure there are no corrosive chemicals left to do any damage.
Washing, waxing and cleaning your vehicle will last longer in the summer months, so this is a great time to make sure everything is in peak condition, and take care of any minor issues you may come across.