How to Avoid these 4 Common Summer Car Problems

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You’ve just hit the road, the sun is shining, your summer playlist is blaring, your friends are in the back seat singing along with excitement, and nobody has said the dreaded ‘are we almost there yet?’ Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Until the car breaks down midway through the journey from a problem you never would expected. As a bonus, it starts to rain.

It sucks, we know. We’ve been there too. Summer can be just as hard on your car as winter, but people don’t always realize this. From extreme temperatures to the road trips simply adding miles and wear: summer has its own share of car problems to watch for. To help prevent your dream road trip from turning into a nightmare, make sure you know about the following summer car problems and how to avoid them.

1. Dead battery

Long-distance drives in summer, often with several entertainment devices connected, can lead to your car’s battery wearing out a little too quickly. Most of us have dealt with this before. At some point or another we’ve had to ask a stranger to jump our car (or if they have jumper cables).

What do I do?

First, check the age of your battery. It’s ideal to get a new battery every 3 to 5 years. If possible, avoid taking lots of short trips and try to go for a long-distance drive regularly to perfectly recharge your battery. And, just in case the inevitable happens, make sure to keep jumper cables in your car.

2. Alternator problems

Your alternator is an important part of your car; it takes the power created by the battery and sends it to all of the electrical components in the car. Having your alternator break while you’re driving can be a scary experience. But extremely hot temperatures and the demand of powering up multiple devices can exert a strain on your alternator.

What do I do?

If you notice the battery or alternator warning light flickering, pull off the road as soon as is safely possible and call an emergency auto repair service. Make sure you take your car for a tune up before going on any road trips to avoid having it break or fail while driving.

3. Failed clutch

Planning on driving through the highway in warm, summer months? Keep an eye out for clutch failure. It’s very rare for clutches to simply fail, but hot weather isn’t kind to your clutch. They often exhibit signs of damage, like slipping, a heavy or gritty feeling when you press the clutch or a change in biting point.

What do I do?

If you suspect your clutch is wearing then get it serviced before heading on your road trip. Even if you don’t see or suspect a clutch problem, getting your car checked before you go on a road trip can save money and time down the road. If you plan to tow something, make sure it’s properly loaded and that your car has the correct towing capacity.

4. Flat tires

Most tires only have a lifespan between 25,000 and 50,000 miles and should be replaced regularly to avoid flats! However, even newer tires are at risk of punctures and blowouts if not correctly looked after. Both of which can be time-consuming and possibly life-threatening.

What do I do?

Make sure you check your tire pressure regularly and keep it topped up to the recommended PSI level. If one tire loses air more than others it may be a sign of wear. You should also examine the rubber all around the tire for cracks, rubbing and signs of erosion and make sure you have more than the legal minimum tread on your tires. Don’t forget to double check your trunk for a spare tire- and make sure your spare is also kept at the proper pressure!

Car problems can be extremely annoying, but if you know how to avoid or troubleshoot them, at least they won’t make a mess of your perfect road trip. And always get your car checked out before you