Summer Car Maintenance: Tips to Prepare Your Vehicle

Spring and summer bring longer, brighter, and warmer days that fill the mind and body with a positive feeling. This season of regeneration and growth often sparks a rush of energy in many people. While engaging in spring cleaning, it’s also important to remember to take care of the faithful friend that has kept you moving and warm during the colder months.

Yes, we’re referring to your car. With the onset of warmer weather, spring and summer road trips are common, and the open highway beckons. However, it’s important to remember that your car may struggle to shift from being a winter trooper to an efficient summer wagon without some essential summer car maintenance.

We have prepared a brief guide to help you in preparing your car for the warmer months.


Getting your car ready for summer adventures involves completing some simple tasks, while others may need mechanical expertise, specialized equipment, or the hiring of an auto technician. If you’re unsure, your local garage can assist you in ensuring that your vehicle is in top shape for the coming seasons.

To maintain your vehicle’s optimal performance, we recommend updating (or at the very least, performing a comprehensive inspection of the following car components:

  • Tires
  • Car wash and cleaning
  • Wipers
  • Brakes
  • Fluids, including engine oil
  • Car battery
  • Air conditioning

Car tires

Tires play a critical role in keeping your vehicle on the road. Regardless of the type of tire you use, it’s important to inspect the tread regularly. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, tires should be replaced when the tread wears down to 2/32″ anywhere along the tire. Extreme weather conditions can cause tire damage, so be on the lookout for cracks. If any of your tires have poor tread, it’s best to replace them to ensure your vehicle maintains proper road grip.

Maintaining proper tire pressure is essential as temperature fluctuations can affect tire pressure, and tires generally lose about one pound per square inch of pressure every month. Despite this, only 19% of drivers regularly check their tire pressure, and one in four vehicles on American roads has at least one tire with incorrect pressure levels.

It’s best to check tire pressure when the tires are still cool, and your owner’s manual should provide you with the recommended tire pressure for both winter and summer. Don’t forget to get your tires rotated every 5,000-8,000 miles, since adequately inflated tires result in better fuel efficiency.

Replace the wiper blades

During the winter season, windshield wipers work tirelessly to clear grime, rain, snow, and road salt. Most manufacturers recommend replacing them every 12 months.

There are four indications that it’s time to replace your wipers: if they are streaking, squeaking, splitting, or skipping. Once you start to notice streaking across the center of your windshield, it’s time to take action. Urgent replacement is necessary if the wipers begin to jump or “chatter” as they move across the windshield.

While you’re at it, take this chance to refill your vehicle’s windshield washer wiper fluid. You’ll need a mixture of cold water and windshield wiper to keep it functioning correctly.

Keep Your Car Clean to Avoid Corrosion

A good wash can work wonders for your vehicle. Grime build-up can cause corrosion over time, putting your safety at risk. A car wash typically includes cleaning the undercarriage. If you prefer to wash your car at home, it’s best to use a pressure hose and ensure that you thoroughly clean the undercarriage.

Don’t overlook the car’s interior either. Give your floor mats a good cleaning and be sure to fit them correctly. Poorly positioned floor mats can interfere with the accelerator and brake pedals, increasing the risk of an accident.

Replacing the air filter, usually located in the glove box, can help keep the airflow clean and even improve the vehicle’s interior odor. Check the owner’s manual for the air filter’s location and the type of replacement filter required.

The Importance of Air Conditioning in Winter

Texans are no strangers to the significance of home air conditioning during the scorching summer season. However, it’s equally important to keep your car’s air conditioning system in excellent condition by running it for about 10 minutes every week. This way, you can rest easy knowing that it will function properly on potentially blistering summer days. If you encounter air conditioning issues, have a technician inspect the cooling system levels.

Gives Your Brakes a Break

If you notice squeaking or grinding brakes, it may indicate a problem with this crucial component of your vehicle. However, even if you don’t hear any strange sounds, it’s still a good idea to inspect your brakes after the winter season. Several auto repair shops offer complimentary brake inspections, and it’s important to ensure that they also check brake fluid levels.

Winter to Summer Car Service: What to Check

Besides getting an oil change, there are several other fluids that play a vital role in ensuring your vehicle functions optimally throughout the year. While auto technicians typically check these fluid levels during servicing, some are relatively simple to inspect and refill yourself. Here are some fluids to inspect when preparing your car for summer:

  • Check the coolant level in your car’s radiator. If the engine temperature is running hot, it may be time for a top-up.
  • If you’re running low or dry, refill the windshield wiper fluid.
  • Inspect the power steering fluid levels. Add more if required.
  • Transmission fluids help lubricate the car’s components, but changing them can be messy and require mechanical skills. It’s best to seek the help of a qualified auto technician if you’re unsure.
  • Brake fluids can be checked during a complimentary brake inspection at retailers that offer this service.

As the seasons change, it’s important to treat our cars as we would ourselves. They require a good service to remove winter debris. Similar to how we humans like a fresh haircut and a summer wardrobe to feel good, washing a car inside and out can make a significant difference in its appearance and performance. Additionally, a comprehensive inspection of the car’s fluids, brakes, air filters, and air conditioning is like a mechanical spa break for your car.

Performing a quick check of the tires, wipers, lights, and floor mats is the final step in giving your car a new spring and summer look. Once your car is ready for the season with proper summer car maintenance, you’ll surely be in the mood for a road trip!


“Prepare Your Car For Summer Travel.” AAA,
“Quick Ways to Check the Tire Tread,” U.S. Department of Transportation,
“Tires in the Garage,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
“Windshield Wiper Blade Performance Diagnosis Service Information,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,
“12 Tips for Maintaining Your Car Air Conditioning System,” Advanced Automotive Inc.,
“Your Checklist for a Spring Car Tune-Up,” AARP,