Summer is the time for road trips. Clear weather and long hours of sunlight make for easy driving. Of course, summer presents specific challenges for your car, especially a vehicle that is up there in mileage.
Here are the top things you should check to make sure your old car is ready to handle the hot and humid summer months of Milwaukee.
Test Your Air Conditioning
With highs in the 70s, Milwaukee may have mild summers compared to the southern states, but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the AC Hopefully, you’ll do an AC check before you need to use it.
You should run the system and make sure everything is working correctly. No odd smells coming out of vents, the modes work as they should, and the air is cold, not merely cool.
If you find the temperature fluctuates dramatically or air isn’t blowing out of the correct vents, then you should take your car into the shop. There, they can check your refrigerant levels, belts, hoses, and condenser. You may also want to ask them to change the air filter at this time.
Check Your Car’s Fluids
Oil and coolant are especially important to check in the summer since they lubricate and cool your engine. Coolant should be changed every two years regardless of season and oil every 3-5 thousand miles.
You’re going to want to be sure that you’re switching to the grade of oil recommended for summer use. Most Wisconsin residents will have a lighter winter-grade oil in their cars to get through those brutal winters.
If you are surprised by a heatwave, the lighter oil may break down and fail to lubricate your engine. You’ll want to make sure that’s changed to a summer-grade oil before the season gets going.
Check and Change Your Filters
With an older engine, you’re going to want to check your car’s filters. Usually, summer in Milwaukee means easy driving. But, the increased dust can wreak havoc on an old engine if you aren’t careful.
Clogged filters decrease airflow to your car’s engine and hurt its performance. You should also make sure to keep a full fuel tank. There are a lot of problems that come up from a car that’s running on fumes, including debris entering the fuel system and condensation in the fuel.
If you don’t want to drive into trouble, be sure you stop and address any warning lights that come on pertaining to your engine. Don’t ignore that check engine light even if everything seems to be ok.
Look Over Your Tires
Summer, winter, old car, new car — you should be checking your tires regularly.
Start with the air pressure. Over-inflated tires are at a higher risk of blowing out. An under-inflated tire wears out easily. Both of these conditions are made worse by the heat of summer. As air temperature fluctuates, your tires can expand thanks to the heat outside.
Consider changing your tires altogether. If you had winter tires on your car, they might not hold up on hot summer roads. Maybe you think you’ll be ok in Milwaukee, but take a trip a little further south, and you’re going to want a summer tire. They tend to be harder than winter tires and can withstand burning roads better.
Are Your Brakes In their Best Shape?
Milwaukee winters have brutal road conditions. In places with extreme winter weather, traffic moves slower than in summer. Being stuck in traffic means a lot of braking, then moving, then braking again. The high heat from all this usage plus the freezing outside conditions means your brakes see extreme thermal cycling all winter.
To get ready for Milwaukee’s summer conditions, you’re going to want to check your brakes thoroughly. Make sure your brake pads don’t have signs of significant wear like discoloration or cracking. If you don’t feel comfortable checking them yourself, it’s worth taking your vehicle to a mechanic.
Is Your Car Good to Go?
If you’ve gone through this list and your car is up to snuff, have a great summer. But if you found that your car is having significant problems in all these areas, it might be time for a change.
If your check engine light is always on, no matter how many oil changes, or your AC isn’t going to work without significant and costly repairs, you might want to get rid of your old car.
If you need to junk your car, contact Junk Car Medics — we pay cash for cars in Milwaukee.