The summer can take a very big toll on your car. The heat causes damage and running with the air conditioning constantly can really wear down your vehicles working parts. The heat, when it gets severe enough, can have a significant impact on rubber and fluids – both of which are critically involved in many of the things that make you able to safely drive your car down the road. The solution is a combination of maintenance and avoidance.
We, at Moon Township Automotive want to make sure you have both solidly taken care of. So, if it is summer, and you drive, this blog is for you.
Fluids Are Your Car’s Blood
Much like your blood courses through your body, providing you with the nourishment, vitamins, minerals and other microscopic substances that each corner of your body needs in order to work, so fluids are for your car. Your blood feeds all your major organs like your brain and your heart. So too, fluids feed the major organs of your car. The engine, the radiator, the battery, the transmission. These are all parts that your car cannot do without and they require a good, clean source of fluids. Those fluids lubricate and spark the actions you get when you turn on your vehicle and drive.
If this is what hydration does for your body in the summer: “the water we consume optimizes blood pressure, regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, moves waste out of the body, and aids in digestion. And with increased summer temperatures and outdoor activities comes increased water loss—through sweating and evaporation—as your body works to stay cool.” (Source). Then for your car, as noted by Popular Mechanic, “Fluids play a huge role in almost every facet of your car, including fuel economy and longevity. Keeping them at the proper level will help your car last longer and drive better, something we can all get behind.”
What follows is the fluid your vehicle needs and how they interact to keep your car healthy and road worthy.
Oil: No Car Can Run Without It
There is a reason that oil changes are drilled into everyone’s head as an important part of vehicle maintenance. Somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles your car will absolutely need one. This is a non-negotiable point of fact, points out TotalNewsWire, and one that any driver can have a hand in maintaining.
Your engine needs oil to keep the moving parts lubricated. To check the oil, first take your car for a short drive, then wait about five minutes so it can cool down. Under the hood, the dipstick in the oil tank should be close to the front of the engine, near you. It’s usually pretty easy to find. Pull out the dipstick, wipe it with a cloth or towel, and then dip it all the way back into the oil tank. Pull it back out and see where the oil line is. There should be a notch in the dipstick to show you where a safe oil level should be. If it seems low, check the cap or your car manual for the type of oil you should use and then add some yourself.
If you are like most drivers though, and a little bit intimidated by what’s under the hood, then just make sure you get your vehicle in for maintenance in time for the odometer to not quite catch up to the sticker that they put on your windshield as an indicator of when you needed your next oil change.
Coolants Keep Your Car Cool
Just as important as your oil, is to your car coolants. They must be in place to keep everything from overheating. This becomes exceptionally true in the summer time. Most people don’t think of New Haven, Connecticut as a hot (temperature) place, but the local newspaper there had a great article that points out how this all works:
An overheated or damaged radiator can leak coolant, resulting in complete engine failure, leaving you stranded on the hottest days. To prevent this from happening, you need to schedule routine radiator and coolant checks… Your vehicle’s radiator is a heat exchange system. It allows for the transfer of thermal energy throughout your car to aid in cooling and heating. During excessively hot or cold days, your radiator works extra hard to maintain the temperature in your vehicle and can overheat, resulting in engine failure.
To prevent your vehicle from overheating, you need to have enough coolant or antifreeze in the reservoir at all times. Coolant helps to maintain ideal temperatures within your vehicle’s engine. As coolant stores are depleted, however, your vehicle becomes more vulnerable to overheating and damage. The best way to prevent this from happening is by habitually checking your coolant levels and topping them off as needed.
An overheated, sidelined car is the last thing you want on a hot summer day!
Other fluids that you will want to maintain include the transmission fluid, brake fluid and washer fluid (which falls more into the category of convenience than typically catastrophic). In all cases, however, the most important car maintenance you can do this summer is maintaining those fluids.