End-of-Summer Car Maintenance Checklist

End-of-Summer Car Maintenance Checklist

The summer weather is finally cooling down as we transition to fall. With the extreme heat and the severe storms this summer brought to the Midwest, your car took a beating. Whether it has been taking you to work every day or to quick grocery trips after a day of work-from-home, it’s time to run through your end-of-summer car maintenance checklist before fall begins.

Check the Battery

A common issue that many car owners had during the lockdown was a dead car battery from disuse. After a car sits in one place for long enough, especially in hot weather, the battery can die and will need to be jump-started. If the battery keeps dying even after you’ve driven around for a few days in a row to charge it, it might be time for a new battery. You can take your car into the shop for a new battery and pay for the service, or if you’re handy with cars, you can buy the battery and install it yourself.

If you have a weak battery when the cold weather begins, you’ll quickly find it’s a lot more inconvenient to jump a battery in the winter than in the summer.

Air Conditioner and Heat Check-Up

After how hot this summer was, your car worked extra hard to keep you cool while you drove. If anything is wrong with your car’s air conditioner now, it is not wise to let the problem sit until spring. If you notice any air conditioner problems, get them fixed as soon as possible to avoid them worsening.

Now that the air outside is cooling down to a comfortable temperature, you’ll likely roll down the windows before you turn on the heat. However, you’re still going to want to make sure the heat works before it gets to be freezing outside. Pick a cool morning to test the heat, and if you have problems, get them checked out immediately.

Check the Oil

Regular oil changes are a normal part of car maintenance. Your end-of-summer car maintenance checklist marks a memorable time to check and change your oil so your car can carry on with its hard work. Typically, you should check the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but it depends on which motor oil you’re using—it could mean you change your oil less often.

Check Your Coolant Level

Since your engine runs hot, the car’s coolant is there to keep it at a cooler temperature and avoid overheating. Make sure that the coolant doesn’t look rusty or murky—it should look like a vibrant shade of red, blue, green, or yellow. Before you check the coolant, the car’s engine needs to be completely cool. You cannot check the coolant right after the engine has been running. There may be a serious problem if the coolant looks sludgy or is dangerously low—even after you’ve changed it recently. Sludgy coolant or leaks need to be handled by a mechanic.


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Sue Baxter