Back to Consumer

Sizzling Hot Summer Checklist For Your Car


The summer heat and humidity can cause some really big problems for your car. Don’t let the sun bring you down. Here’s a checklist of things you should inspect, check and test before you’re sitting stranded on the side of the road. (You’ll thank us later!)

Inspect Your Radiator
Overheating is one of the top reason cars breakdown in the summer so be sure this part of your cooling system is in tip-top shape. (And be sure the engine is cool before inspecting it!) Check your radiator, the hoses and cap for damage and repair it, if needed. Air flow around the radiator is important so clear out any debris or dirt.

Check The Coolant
As you’d suspect, COOLant is pretty important so be sure you have enough and that it’s level. Check your owner’s manual for the correct coolant to distilled water ratio. Coolant needs to be flushed on a regular basis. If you don’t know the last time it was flushed, head to your mechanic’s shop.

Inspect Belts and Hoses
Check your engine for any belts and hoses that may be cracked, fraying, leaking, etc. The summer heat and humidity will only make this worse. Give it a once over as part of your inspection.

Test Your Battery
High temperatures can weaken your battery due to evaporating fluid, and dirt can act as a conductor and drain power. Be sure to have it tested and, if it’s more than 3 years old, consider having it replaced. Don’t have that turn-the-key-and-nothing-happens moment!

Check Tire Pressure and Wear
Temperature can affect air pressure and hot asphalt can add to the wear and tear on your tires. Inspect your tires before the heat comes in and check on the first day of each month to be sure they’re in optimal condition, don’t need air or a rotation. Remember to check the spare as well!

AC Running Well?
If you turn on the air conditioning and you feel a weak and not-so-cold breeze, your AC may need some love. Dirt and bugs may impact air flow, you could have a clogged condenser or your refrigerant level may be low.

Get an Oil Change
Consult with your mechanic on what kind of oil to use. High temperatures may require an oil designed for those warmer conditions. And don’t blow by the recommended oil changes. You could regret it later.

Check Transmission Fluid
Summer heat contributes to the breakdown of transmission fluid. Add this to your checklist especially if you tow a boat or a camper.

Examine the Windshield Wipers
You know a good set of windshield wipers is your best friend if you’ve ever been stuck in a quick-hitting summer rainstorm. Check to see if the rubber has cracked and separated from the frame. Fill up your washer fluid while you are at it.

Wash and Wax
Wrap up your summer prep checklist by treating your car to a wash and wax. A car’s paint is a protective cover (not just a style point) and giving it some TLC would be a wise move to preserve it for the long haul.

✔ Give these areas a giant check mark and you’ll be ready to soak up those summer rays!

My goal is to make the lives of our GasBuddies easier with tips, information and advice related to traveling and saving money. I spend many hours driving around in my Toyota 4Runner with my two young kids and big yellow dog. I write for GasBuddy but I carry these other titles as well: wife, mom, marketing maniac, dog owner, commuter, carpool driver, soccer and basketball coach, family CFO, chef, runner, yogi, skier, lover of books, sports fan, semi-retired golfer, knitting beginner, want-to-be painter and vacation planner. Thanks for letting me help you perfect your pit stop!

Columbus City Spotlight