When it comes to your car, it’s impossible to overstate how much the weather can impact it. While everyone is familiar with the pitfalls of winter driving, ensuring you have adequate tread on your tires to handle slippery conditions and starting your car early to defrost, summer car maintenance has a slightly different rulebook when prioritizing what to take care of and what can wait.

Let us guide you through some of the key points you should focus on when you’re looking to keep your car nice during the summer. Take care of these 7 things, and you should have no problems at all until winter rolls around!

1. Test the AC!

You know just what a relief it can be to get into a properly cooled-off car after some work out in the sun, so before the really hot days come around, make sure to test your air conditioning! If your car is older, or you’re simply a heavy user of the air conditioning, there’s a chance you’ll need to refill the refrigerant in the AC system. You can purchase a can of this refrigerant for between $30 and $50, and this is more than likely going to fix the problem, or at very least, make sure that the AC you’re getting is as cool as it can be. Further AC problems may need a mechanic’s touch to diagnose and repair, but taking this step early means that you’ll have the necessary knowledge to make sure you get that cool breeze flowing through your car at all times. Car maintenance isn't always fun, but it's always rewarding!

2. Check your tires’ air pressure.

The shift from cool air to hot air and vice versa can have a surprisingly large impact on your ride quality, gas mileage, and alignment of your steering. Make sure to check all 4 of your tires, ensuring they’re filled to the optimal level without being overfilled. Don’t forget to check your emergency spare tire as well, as you’ll never know when you might need it! Keeping a car nice requires work from time to time, but at least this one is free at most gas stations, and only takes a minute! As far as how to keep a car nice, this is one of the easiest, fastest ways to improve ride quality.

3. Check your antifreeze/coolant level.

Keeping your car’s engine cool in the summer is every bit as important as keeping it warm in the winter. Overheating can lead to a wide variety of engine problems, none of which you’ll be excited about. Engine repairs can be expensive and lengthy procedures, whereas antifreeze generally only costs a few dollars a bottle. Save yourself the headache down the line, top off the coolant and make sure you don’t have any leaks, drive it around a little bit after filling it to make sure you’re not losing any fluid from the engine’s standard operation. To keep a car nice, you have to make sure the car itself works, and a lack of coolant is one of the fastest ways to ruin a car.

4. Replace your windshield wipers.

Visibility is key when it comes to driving, as you can only take action in response to what you see. Not seeing deer, for example, has lead to the deaths of many deer and the infuriation of many a driver. Winter conditions are particularly harsh on windshield wipers, due to ice buildup on both the windshield itself and the wipers, which are usually kept dormant at the bottom of the windshield when not in use. The worst way to find out your wiper blades aren’t cutting it is when you’re about to hit something, get them changed if you’ve had the same set since winter.

5. Rotate your tires!

While making sure you have the correct amount of air in your tires is critical, tires don’t wear at the same rate. Whether you have 4WD, RWD, FWD or AWD, it will affect the rate at which your tires’ tread wears away, in addition to all your regular driving habits. If the wheels’ alignment is off, this can also lead to one side of the tire wearing down much faster than the other. Regular rotation of tires can help to balance this out, most mechanics recommend rotating the tires every 3 to 5 thousand miles. Improper tire tread wear can lead to more fuel spent per mile, a lot more road noise, the steering of the vehicle pulling to one side, there’s a lot of issues that can arise from it. Make sure to get them rotated, your car will thank you!

6. Clean/replace air filters.

There’s two critical air filters to keep in mind when it comes to your vehicle. The main one in regards to your vehicle itself is the engine air filter, which purifies air before it processes through the engine itself. How often to change it is dependent on the type of vehicle, as well as the conditions in which you drive. If you’re in dusty conditions, for example, you’ll need to change it out more often. Failing to change it as needed can lead to poor ride quality, the engine might start to chug more often, as it’s essentially suffocating. Engine air filters are generally fairly cheap to change, and it can also improve your fuel efficiency, so don’t put it off. The cabin air filter is part of your heating/cooling system, and as you might imagine, it filters the air that flows into the cabin itself. It only needs to be changed every 15 to 45 thousand miles, but if you’ve never done it before, you’ll definitely notice the difference once you do.

7. Test your brakes.

Last but not least, don’t forget to check those brakes! Salt, ice, and a lot of other winter factors can cause your brakes to be less effective, though brakes need to be changed out approximately every 10 to 20 thousand miles regardless. If your brakes are feeling a little bit squishy, or are making a grinding/rubbing noise when you brake, you almost certainly need new brake pads. As long as you have a jack, it’s possible to do it yourself, though if you have a warranty you might as well have a garage do it. It should be a fairly cheap job, regardless, but without good brakes, even a really nice vehicle could be dangerous. Between tires and brakes, there’s a lot that can go wrong, and we want to make sure you don’t risk your life or your ride over something you can take care of at relatively low cost.

With all these in mind, you should be free and clear to drive all summer! Make sure to get out there and enjoy the driving weather while it lasts! If you're in the market for a car, don't forget to check out our inventory here!