Wisconsin summers are hot and humid. What does that have to do with your car? Our Midwestern summers are tough on them, making summer car maintenance even more important to keep your car on the road—and not on the side or in the ditch. If you want to avoid being stranded on one of our summer sauna days, use this simple and easy summer car care checklist to keep your vehicle on the road and running in peak condition:
- Check your fluids. Extreme summer heat means your engine needs optimal fluid amounts and lubrication performance to cool and protect your engine’s moving parts. Have your oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid checked and flushed (if due) to make sure your engine can withstand the heat and humidity of our Wisconsin summers.
- Inflate your tires. At the very least, have your tire pressure checked to make sure your tires are not under or overinflated. Tires with incorrect tire pressure levels compromise gas mileage and accelerate tire tread wear. To make sure your tires are performing at the very best for the summer, use this simple test to make sure you have adequate tread wear to last the summer.
- Test your battery. Contrary to popular belief, summer—not winter—is the hardest time of year for batteries. Hot weather is a battery’s worst enemy, so make sure to have your battery tested and look for signs that your battery is dying.
- Replace your windshield wipers (if needed). Make sure you can see through those inevitable Wisconsin storms and downpours with new windshield wipers. Ask your mechanic to also check your headlights and tail lights to make sure you have strong lights to get you through our summer Wisconsin rain storms.
- Make sure you have brakes when you need them. Brakes are one of the key parts of your vehicle that you need all year round. Have a mechanic inspect your brakes to make sure your rotors can make it through the summer.
- Stay cool with a car air conditioner check. If you’re worried that your car’s air conditioner is giving out, don’t panic. Blowing warm air does not mean that your system can’t be fixed or needs a major, expensive repair. Schedule an appointment to have a trusted mechanic diagnose the problem, recommend possible repairs and give you a quote.
Unfortunately, even after double-checking everything on the summer car care checklist, part failure and car breakdowns do happen. Keep your local tow truck phone number in your cell phone, and in your emergency car kit. When it comes to your car, an ounce of prevention, and summer car maintenance, can keep you on the road no matter how high the temperature climbs.