Your Ultimate Summer Car Care Checklist

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the highest number of fatal accidents occur from July to September. This can be attributed to a number of factors including distracted driving, driving under the influence, and even neglected car maintenance. Summer road trips, off-roading, and extreme weather conditions can wear and tear your vehicle. Before packing up for the beach or setting off for the mountains, take preventative measures to ensure that your vehicle is prepared for the journey with our summer car care checklist.


1. Check the Tire Pressure

Summer mornings can often be 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the middle of the day, resulting in tire pressure fluctuations. Cold air decreases your tire pressure and can lead to deflating, while hot air expands and increases pressure. If the tire pressure remains low throughout the day, you may need to fill your tires. Look at your vehicle door on the driver’s side to locate the correct psi. If you do not currently own an air pump, you can inflate your tires at a local gas station in exchange for a few quarters, so fill up. Additionally, we advise keeping a pressure gauge in your vehicle to confirm low psi if the alert on the dashboard appears.

2. Prevent Your Engine from Overheating

Even if you are not due for an oil check, schedule an appointment for general maintenance. Before July, have your cooling fluids, thermostat, radiator, coolant hose, and water pump checked. If you have driven over 40,000 miles, you may also need to have your radiator flushed (synonymous with what mechanics call a “coolant flush”). In the event that your car begins to overheat, pull over and exit the vehicle as you wait for assistance to arrive.

3. Change the Oil and Filter

Remember how you put off changing your oil during the winter because it was too cold out and you didn’t want to wait outside? Well, the time is now. The filter is an essential part of the vehicle as it sorts out the harmful debris that enters the oil system, whether it be transmission oil, engine oil, or lubricating oil. Conditions related to hot weather can place stress on both the oil and the filter.

4. Assess Battery Condition

According to Firestone, heat is the number one contributing factor to battery corrosion and subsequent failure. The heat expedites battery fluid evaporation which results in corrosion and irreversible damage. The battery can also be drained by leaving electronics on while the engine is shut off. This practice is common in the summer during activities such as visiting drive-in movie theaters.

5. Wax On, Wax Off

Prior to driving to a region with an abundance of dust or debris in the air, give the exterior a needed wax. Locations such as the desert or the beach have lots of harmful debris, and the roads to arrive there have even more. Prevent paint scratches by applying a protective layer.

6. Protect Your Tires

Different products exist to protect your tires in conditions of increased sun exposure and heat, such as UV resistant tire gloss. This can help prevent tire rotting and cracking. Depending on the intended destination, your tires may benefit from a protective coating.

7. Check the Air Conditioning System

It goes without saying, but the AC is one of the most important features of a car during the summer. Odds are, you do not want to be driving in 100-degree heat with only the hot breeze from your windows to cool you down. Furthermore, a faulty AC system can cause the vehicle to overheat. Visit your local dealer for service to check your AC before planning a long drive.

Start Your Summer Car Care Checklist with Elo GPS and CarRx

With Elo GPS and CarRx, you can easily gain insight into your vehicle’s health condition and schedule maintenance with your dealer directly through your smartphone if needed. CarRx’s configurable system runs diagnostic scans every 15 minutes and translates over 10,000 error codes to deliver vehicle alerts on your mobile device. By leveraging smart alerts, we provide transparency so you can identify what needs maintenance and whether it’s safe to keep driving. To learn more about how CarRx can help you assess vehicle health this summer, contact us to find a dealer near you.