by David Ligon, Certified Mechanic
Let’s face it, summers in Florida can be brutal. The heat and humidity can feel unbearable, and everyday activities like gardening or exercising outside become events that must be approached with incredible timing. No more afternoons pruning or carefree runs on the beach – a heatwave and a thunderstorm may be just around the corner. In addition to “summer-proofing” your routine, your automobile also needs a little extra love in the warmer months, whether you plan to stay in Florida or beat the heat by driving North. Here are a few tips to keep your car in tip-top shape this summer.
1Change your wipers and your radiator fluid. Thunderstorms in Florida are bad enough to drive through even with good wipers. Don’t take a chance of being stuck in a torrential downpour with faulty wipers – change them now. As for the radiator fluid, the cooling system in your car depends heavily on this liquid to take all the heat out of your engine, and the fluid has a limited working lifespan. While you’re changing the fluid, take a hose and spray off the front of the radiator. We all know how love bugs love our windshields, but these pesky insects also gum up the airflow through the radiator, so give it a good wash once a month.
2Get an A/C check. It may seem like a no-brainer to check such a vital function of your car in the summer, but few people inquire about their A/C until something goes wrong. Most modern cars have a cabin filter that keeps pollen and dust from entering the A/C system, but it often gets very dirty. The dirtier it gets, the worse your precious cooling system will work, so have this cabin filter changed once a year. Now’s a good time to have the A/C belt changed as well since a slipping belt will cause poor A/C performance.
3Make sure your battery is in perfect shape. Florida’s heat can be very tough on batteries, causing the chemical reactions inside them to accelerate resulting in a shorter lifespan for your battery, If yours hasn’t been changed in the last five years, get a new one, especially since your A/C derives its power here.
4Check your tires’ air pressure & the condition of your spare. Simply keeping your tires filled can save you a big headache and a possible blowout. And be sure to peek at your spare so you know it’s got your back.