Automobiles, being the precision machines that they are, require diligent monitoring to ensure they are running at peak performance. The aspects of the vehicle that an owner should look at depend on many factors, for example the age of the vehicle or the current mileage of the vehicle. Other factors play a part such as your road conditions for your area and the climate of your area. Today we are going to discuss summer season maintenance and the aspects of your vehicle that you should look at and address for driving in the summer months.
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Tire pressure is an item that is a factor year round. Here I’ll discuss the specific factors related to tire pressure in the summertime. Tire pressure is driven by three major aspects: components of the gas used, temperature (these two are related) and quality of the seal of the tire. The gas used to fill tires will be one of two things, compressed air or nitrogen. If you have nitrogen filled tires, you have one less thing to worry about because temperature has no significant impact on tire pressure.
Tires filled with compressed air are a different yet age old story. Compressed air in tires is subject to Gay-Lussac’s Law. I won’t bore you with the details of the chemistry concept other than this: if the temperature goes up, so does the pressure (the opposite is true too, temp goes down à pressure goes down). So the bottom line here is that as the temperature goes up in the summer months, you need to keep an eye on your tire pressure. Also make sure you are checking your tire pressure when the tires are cold, meaning they haven’t been heated from friction due to driving. While you’re at it, make sure there’s enough tread on the tires to handle the summer thunderstorms. Check your tire pressure every couple of weeks or so.
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Speaking of summer thunderstorms, properly performing windshield wipers are essential to staying safe while driving through wet conditions. Wipers that aren’t performing well will streak and leave water behind, thus further reducing your already poor visibility. Good wipers are also essential anytime there is debris, dirt or dust on your windshield.
Selecting windshield wipers can be intimidating. The general rule of thumb here is that you get what you pay for, meaning that quality and level of performance goes up with price. You’ll never go wrong with buying OEM wipers (genuine parts specified by the manufacturer, which are usually available at your dealer), and it takes the guesswork out of the purchasing process. For aftermarket wipers, go with a respectable brand and pay a few extra dollars. It’s worth seeing the difference. If you’re concerned about installing your new wipers, most mechanics, car dealers and auto parts stores will install them for you. Some will even do it free of charge! Whichever path you take, make sure to do this once every six months or when you see the performance start to degrade.
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Paint, simply put, maintain it or eventually it will show its age. It’s just that simple. And when I refer to paint, I’m talking about the whole paint system, which includes the other important component, clear coat. The car’s paint job takes abuse from various elements which can vary between road conditions to climate. Let’s talk about the summer care for your paint job. Inspect the paint for chips, rust and stains. Take care of these localized issues using appropriate tools and matching paint. Never paint over a rust area because the rust will corrode through your touch up job. Use sandpaper, brushes or other tools to get through to the bare metal. When it comes to touch up paint, your car dealer or auto parts store should have matching paint available. Take care of stains using a clay bar, which will pull up stains that are embedded right below the surface.
After all of these things are taken care of, give the car a good wash, polish and wax. The best polishes are the multi stage systems that work from a “rough” polish to a very “fine” polish. These systems achieve mirror-like finishes that can’t be beat. You’ll take years off the car’s appearance when you use one of these systems. Something like this only needs to be done once a year, and the lead in to summer is the perfect weather to do it. And when you do this, don’t forget to clean up the wheels and dress the tires and any unpainted body trim.
All of the things mentioned here are easy to do. Some things like tire pressure and windshield wipers take minutes to complete. Set aside a few of hours to complete the paint job related work that I mentioned. When you do these routine maintenance items, along with following your manufacturer’s schedule for maintenance, you’ll have a car that continues to run and look like new for a long time.