Do more than just wash your car during the summer

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, July 11, 2018

As Southerners, we love the fact that we don’t have to deal with winter storms, snow chains and being snowed in.

But just like the northern population of our country, we have our own challenges to face, first and foremost the heat.

And while we all know we should take care of ourselves to prevent heat exhaustion, we may neglect the regular maintenance of our automobiles.

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Just like how the heat can affect our bodies, it can also affect the engine and other aspects of your vehicle.

The cooling system in your vehicle is a crucial part of keeping the engine running for a long time.

If you want to get the most out of your investment, take a moment to ensure the coolant level in the radiator is topped off. And don’t just use water. Antifreeze does more than just ensure the fluid in your engine doesn’t solidify in cold weather, it also keeps the internal components and radiator from corroding.

Extreme weather of any kind can also affect other parts of the engine, such as the serpentine and timing belts. Have them checked for wear before you are stranded on the side of the road.

Hoses of various kinds also occupy the space under the hood. If one of them is damaged or cracked, vacuum leaks and coolant leaks can cause bigger problems. If you notice your coolant constantly needs topping off, the problem could be due to a leaking hose or a faulty water pump.

Vacuum hoses are part of the vehicle’s EVAP system, which recycles unused gasoline fumes so your engine can burn them off.

Leaks in this system can cause your vehicle to run erratically. Bend them slightly to look for cracks.

Smudges from dirty hands trying to remove condensation from windshields during the cooler months can reduce visibility.

A clean windshield ensures you will see a hazard and be able to react in a timely manner.