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Tips for Summer Car Care

by Marilyn Pokorney

Most people are more concerned about taking extra special care of their cars in the winter. But summer care is just as important.

A major cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. Keep the air conditioner and cooling system in perfect running order.

If your car overheats never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled. Have a professional check the drive belts, clamps, hoses and have the system flushed and refilled with fresh coolant before leaving on vacations.

Have the oil and oil filter changed at no more than 3000 miles. Make sure the windshield wipers are in good condition and keep plenty of washer fluid ready for use.

Check air pressure in tires once a month and rotate tires every 5000 miles.

Continue routine maintenance of transmission, battery, lights, and brakes.

Make sure the radiator core is in good shape. Salt from winter roads can cause the radiator to become rusty and leaky, and cause the car to overheat.

Drive the speed limit for best gas mileage. Use the air conditioner even when the windows are open to improve air flow for better use of fuel for better mileage.

Check brakes and pads. Avoid unnecessary braking. Slow down gradually. This can save more than ten percent in gas. Don't idle for long lengths of time. Idling burns more fuel than restarting the car.

Check the windshield for stone chips or cracks.

Clean the windows, inside and out, to increase visibility and reduce glare and eyestrain.

Have the engine, transmission, power drive and other fluids checked.

Inspect the suspension system and replace the shocks if worn to ensure a smooth ride.

And one thing that many car owners neglect. Check the engine light. This is your warning that something is wrong somewhere in the engine and if it's malfunctioning more serious problems can result.

After all that is done, make sure the outer coating of your car is well protected with a wax and shine.

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