10 Ways To Prepare Your Car For Hot Weather & Summer Travel
Canada might be known as a land of ice and snow, but our summer temperatures can melt thermometers with the best of them.
Just recently a heatwave scorched across the western provinces, with record-smashing temperatures in many parts touching close to 40 degrees Celsius!
That’s why it’s just as important to prepare your vehicle for these scorching summer months as it is to winterize your car. Your car needs to be ready for when the blacktop gets hot, and especially if you plan to click up the odometer for a summer road trip.
10 Summer Maintenance Car Checks
To help your car breeze through the hot days of summer, we’ve got 10 tips to prepare your car for warmer weather.
1. Tire care
Swap out tires: If you sport winter tires, then obviously it’s time to swap those out for your all-seasons or summer tires – both of which are more rigid and handle better on hot asphalt.
Consider rotating your tires: Equally important is rotating your tires, which is the process of switching front and back tires. This will improve gas mileage, as well as your car’s performance and safety in the warmer climate.
Monitor tire pressure: Did you know rising temperatures can increase your tire’s pressure? In fact, tire pressure can increase 1 or 2 PSI for every 6 degrees of temperature increase. That means what was good for your spring or winter driving will not do for summer. Underinflated tires will cause undue pressure on the sidewalls, while overinflated tires will negatively affect performance and may even cause a rupture. Give your tires an eye check for cracks and bulges, then use the gauge to make sure your pressure is set according to your car’s manual.
2. Air conditioning
Hopefully, your car is modern enough to feature an air conditioner, though chances are you don't turn it on eight months out of the year. Now’s the time to make sure it’s functioning properly and blowing cool air into the cabin. If not, you may need your refrigerant topped up. Other remedies might be a full evacuation of fluids and recharge by a mechanic, but that tends to be a last recourse.
3. Fresh filters
Because you’re going to be rolling up the windows and blasting the AC, you need to ensure the airflow to your engine and to the cabin is pristine – for your health and the car’s. Have a look at the cabin air filter and check for any signs of discoloration or dampness. Check your engine’s air filter too; a clean filter will help your car thrive and improve fuel mileage.
4. Top up your fluids
Hopefully, you check your oil on a regular basis, but how often do you check the other vital fluids your engine relies on? It’s easy to forget. However, going into the summer months you should pay special attention to your coolant levels to prevent overheating. While you’re getting your hands dirty, you might as well check your transmission and brake fluid. Refer to your owner’s manual for the location of each fluid and associated dipstick.
5. Time to change your battery?
Whether you’re stuck in a blistering hot parking lot or snow-covered roadside, a dead battery is a nightmare no matter what season you’re in. Summer months can be tough on a charging system – all that strain from air conditioning and cooling fans to your sound system competing against exterior noise. Inspect your battery by looking for any signs of wear and tear. Check its date and consider a replacement if it’s old (four years on average).
6. Brake checks
Winter conditions take a toll on your vehicle’s brakes, so you need to be vigilant about making sure they are spring- and summer-ready. Mechanics and auto shops that offer brake checks are ubiquitous. They will inspect the brake pads and rotors and let you know if they need replacing. This will benefit your car’s performance and improve safety conditions for yourself and those around you.
7. Protect your paint
Your car’s paint job is not a big fan of summer heat. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays can cause fading, drying, and even cracks in the exterior paint. If you don’t have access to a garage, try to park in a shady spot, but remember trees bring their own threats – bird droppings, sap, etc. It’s also wise to consider a UV protectant wax coating for the car’s best protection against the sun.
8. Replace your wipers
Your wiper blades were no doubt relied on heavily in the winter. The constant wiping away of snow and ice, not to mention sand and salt, might have left your wipers with little left to give. Worn wipers leave streaks and you don’t want that in the summer rain. Wipers are easy to replace and will make a huge improvement on visibility.
9. Prep your road trip emergency kit
Nothing beats hitting the highway in the summer for a camping adventure or a few serene days in cottage country. Mentally, you are ready, but is your car prepared for the trip? Protect yourself and your family against the unknown by having a preparedness kit in the vehicle. We’re talking flashlights, blankets, water, and a spare tire kit in case of a remote breakdown. It’s also a good time to think about roadside assistance coverage. A few bucks a month could provide a lot of peace of mind for those desolate drives where you might require mechanical help.
10. Adapt your driving habits
Winter driving and summer driving can be radically different. In winter, you are focused mostly on the conditions, navigating icy spots and snowy ruts, as an example. In the summer, traffic tends to get worse with more gridlock caused by construction and roadwork projects. That means more time in your car in the heat, which is why it’s important to have your air conditioner functioning. Summer driving also means more activity on the streets, including an influx of pedestrians and cyclists. Be sure to heighten your level of caution and be attuned to non-motorized activity. With electric bikes, e-scooters, and e-boards all hitting the roads in summer, modern drivers need to be extra aware of their surroundings.
Need a car this summer?
If you don’t think your car can beat the heat this summer, get behind the wheel of a new daily driver in a matter of clicks with Canada Drives! If you live in Ontario or B.C., you can buy your car 100% online from the comfort of home. We’ll even deliver it to your doorstep and give you seven days to test-own the car and get your money back if you change your mind.
Leave the pressure-packed dealership experience in your rearview; shop for cars online and at your own pace. Get started browsing hundreds of vehicles online to find the perfect summer car in no time!