You might assume that summer weather doesn’t have the same effect on your vehicle as winter. Yet the warm season has its own set of strenuous conditions, from heavy rain that reduces visibility to flash flooding and hailstorms.
Summer temperatures also cause your vehicle to heat up more, so the cooling system needs to work harder. The tires can also over-inflate when air expands and hot weather places a greater amount of wear on hoses, belts and other rubber or plastic-based parts.
Considering these factors, make sure your car is ready to handle summer storms by addressing the following.
Windshield Wiper Maintenance
When it’s downpouring rain, the windshield wipers are key to maintaining visibility as you drive. Yet, wiper blades wear out when the rubber detaches or the metal parts no longer move.
Rather than drive through a severe storm with only one operating windshield wiper, check the blades every month and replace the set every six months on average. Also top off the windshield wiper fluid, otherwise the blades won’t be able to wipe off any dirt and debris on your windshield.
Along with the wipers, your headlights are another component for visibility during a storm. When the bulbs are burned out or the brightness has decreased due to interior moisture buildup, have your headlights checked out for any necessary repairs.
The tires are your vehicle’s contact point with the ground. During a storm, they can be the difference between remaining steady or hydroplaning and losing control. To prepare your tires for summer weather:
- Make sure they’re properly inflated. Higher temperatures can cause the air to expand, increasing your risk of a blowout.
- Assess the rubber for any damage, leaks and tread depth. A minimum of 3 millimeters tread is needed for sufficient traction.
- Replace your snow or winter tires with an all-season set more suitable for the weather.
Clean the Inside Windshield
While we typically focus on the exterior glass for visibility, the interior also plays a role. Moisture and fog can accumulate here, particularly if you have a film of dirt and grease covering the surface. At the start of the season, thoroughly clean the inside glass so that when you activate the defroster during a storm, the fog and moisture clear away.
Check the Air Conditioner
The arrival of a storm should not be your first time using the air conditioner this season. Test the A/C early on to make sure the vents still blow cold air. Also listen for any strange noises and see if you spot fluid leaking. If you notice any of these signs, get the A/C system repaired before temperatures really heat up.
Protect the Paint
A number of factors related to summer weather can damage the paint and invite rusting, from tree sap, bird droppings and pollen to UV exposure – even before the first major storm arrives.
To protect the paint, start the season by washing off all winter debris, including salt and grime picked up from the roads. Then have the full surface professionally waxed for protection against the elements.
For parking, find an area in the shade – away from tree branches – to park the vehicle and reduce UV exposure. Considering the damage some summer storms can cause, keep the car parked in the garage as often as you can during the season.
Check and Replace the Fluids
If you have to evacuate the area, which can happen when a major flood is expected, make sure your car has enough fluids to help you make the journey. Check the quality and amount of oil, transmission, power steering, brake, coolant and windshield washer fluids ahead of any storm. If needed, have them topped off or replaced.
Whether you’re dealing with damage from flood waters, hailstones or high winds, DaSilva’s Auto Body can examine your car and recommend any repairs. To schedule an appointment, contact our Naugatuck shop today.