Those hot and humid Cincinnati summer days can cause serious problems for your older model car.
Most of the advice about how to prepare your old car for summer in Cincinnati, OH, will apply to every vehicle, even brand new ones. But older cars might need to be babied through the hottest months of the year with a little more care.
Just because Cincinnati, Ohio, is in the northern part of the US doesn’t exempt it from hot weather. Temperatures in July hover around 85 degrees Fahrenheit and can close in on 100 sometimes. June and August can be just as unbearable at times.
Cincinnati is home to the second-worst truck bottleneck in the US, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. The I-71, I-75 interchange traffic can force you to slow to 30 mph. With $750 million budgeted for road construction in the Cincinnati area in 2021 and many more projects planned for upcoming years, traffic delays are bound to be worse.
If your car isn’t adequately prepared for summer heat, idling in high temperatures with the air conditioner on could cause the cooling system to give out at one of the worst possible moments. Your old car has been around the block a time or twenty, so take some extra time to make sure it won’t let you down when the temperatures soar.
Check the Coolant System
You can and should regularly keep an eye on the health of your radiator, summer or winter. Fortunately, maintaining your car’s radiator is easy and takes only a few minutes. To do a quick coolant system check, make sure your car is completely cool, then remove the radiator cap. The coolant should be clearly visible at the top. If it’s not, you’ll need to top it up. If it’s dirty or contains visible debris, it might be time to get your radiator flushed.
If you’re aware of any drips or slow leaks from your radiator, get those repaired before the hot weather arrives. A tiny leak can become a big problem quickly and lead to your engine overheating.
Check Your Air Conditioner
You need to know how to prepare your old car for summer in Cincinnati, OH, but you need to be able to stay cool inside it, too. The first 85°F day is not the day to discover that your air conditioner doesn’t work.
If your a/c blows warm air, you can probably fix the problem yourself. You can recharge your car’s air conditioner pretty quickly if you’re comfortable under the hood of a car. Most hardware and auto stores carry cans of refrigerant. Choose a kit that comes with a pressure gauge, unless you already own one.
You’ll want to let your car run with the a/c on full-blast for 3-5 minutes. Then follow the instructions on the refrigerant can to check the pressure and recharge the system.
If you’re uncertain about doing it yourself, your best bet is to have a mechanic or someone familiar with car air conditioning do it for you.
Check Your Tires
Everyone worries about their tires before the snow and ice hit, but summertime driving can be extra hard on your tires, too. And cold rain on superheated pavement can create slick driving conditions, especially when the rain first starts.
Check the tread by inserting a penny into it at various points. Insert the penny with Lincoln’s head down. If it disappears up to his eyes, your tires are in good shape. If you can see most of the top of his head, it’s time for better tires. Look for uneven wear that indicates it might be time to rotate your tires or invest in new ones.
Temperature extremes can affect tire pressure, so regularly check your tires to be sure they’re inflated to the correct PSI.
Check Your Oil
Healthy oil is essential for a car to run properly, so take a few minutes to check your oil. If the level is low or the oil is dirty, your engine’s working harder than it should. One major step in figuring out how to prepare your old car for summer in Cincinnati, OH, is to make sure your oil’s at the proper level and to get it changed on schedule.
Check Other Fluids
While you’re under the hood, check the level of the other fluids in your car that often get overlooked. Check your washer fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and steering fluid levels. Top them up if they’re low. And check them regularly over the summer to ensure they’re not leaking or evaporating in the heat.
Check Your Battery
How old is your battery? Batteries typically last 3-5 years, but if they have to deal with the cold winters and hot summers in Cincinnati, OH, they might need to be replaced a little more often. Before you take off on a long summer drive, get your battery inspected to be sure it has the proper amount of fluid and a full charge.
Check Your Wiper Blades
Snow and ice might have put your wiper blades through the wringer. And the coming heat can do even more damage. If they look split or pitted, or they leave streaks when you use them, replace them so you’ll be ready for any summertime downpours.
Finally, if you’ve gone through the steps of how to prepare your old car for summer in Cincinnati, OH, you might have determined that the cost of the maintenance is more than you want to invest. If you’re ready to let go of that old car, check out our Cincinnati junk cars service.