Many people worry about their cars breaking down when it’s cold out but hot temperatures can also lead to car troubles if you’re not careful.
It’s always best to keep up with a regular maintenance schedule and also check in on your car at the start of each season to see if there’s anything that warrants a checkup.
Summer Activities That Affect Your Transmission
For some people, summer means towing heavy trailers carrying boats, dirt bikes, 4wheelers, horses, and other cargo for a day outside. This also is really hard on your transmission and it’s best to check your transmission fluid before each excursion and get it changed if necessary, especially if you are regularly towing stuff throughout the summer.
Another way that can age transmissions quickly during the summer is if you drive hard, which can happen in many ways:
- Driving Through Hilly Areas
- Driving Through Mountains
- Hitting Stop-and-Go Traffic Often
- Driving Through Hot Weather
- Rocking the Car (through mud or snow)
- Fast Stops & Fast Starts
These courses warrant transmission fluid checkups because there is likely to be more dirt and debris getting caught in there and other places in your engine, including the air filters.
What Your Transmission Needs
For the average driver, you would only need to get your transmission fluid flushed every 100,000 miles but it’s best to check the owner’s manual as it may vary from car to car. It also depends on the driving behaviors of owner and what kind of terrain they’re typically going through.
You can check your transmission fluid at home too. It should be a clear, red color but if it’s a lot darker or smells burnt, it needs flushing. Towing on overdrive can burn up the transmission, so avoid that whenever possible.
During the summer, it’s a lot easier for your car to overheat. Check that the coolant levels are at the appropriate levels to avoid overheating and avoid driving when it’s more than 100 degrees out.
If you notice your gears are slipping, strange sounds coming from your engine, or see transmission fluid leaking, it’s best to bring your car in for an inspection before things get worse. If necessary, we’ll help you fix your transmission.
It’s important to note that any mechanic that tells you they’ll get you a new transmission is likely not telling the truth. Rarely are new transmissions brought in because of how expensive they are. Usually, transmissions are rebuilt or repaired.
Protecting Your Car From Summer Heat
Besides your transmission specifically, there are many ways to keep your car healthy that also support the transmission.
- Keep Fluids Topped Off to Maintain Lubricants & Cooling
- Clean Any Battery Corrosion
- Make Sure the Gas Cap is Always on Tight
- Check & Replace Dirty Air Filters & Cabin Air Filters
- Apply a Vinyl Protection to Dashboards & Inside Doors
- Use a Sunshield to Guard Interiors & Keep Car Cool
- Park Under Trees or In the Shade When Possible
- Crack Windows or Roll Them Down When You First Get In
- Check to See That All Lights Are Working
- Have Wheels Rotated, Balanced, Aligned
- Check Tires for Wear & Pressure
- Check Hoses & Belts for Cracks & Frays
Other Ways to Stay Comfortable In Your Car
Now that your car is up to snuff and ready for summer, don’t forget to keep the car stocked with items to keep you cool and healthy too. Here are a few items to keep in the car that will keep you summer-ready:
- Water in a Steel or Glass Container (avoids plastic leaching)
- Hat & Sunscreen
- Clean Windows (light rays reflecting off dust specks make it harder to see)
- Football, Volleyball, Soccer Ball, Tennis Balls, etc.
- Water & Water Bowl for Pets
If you’re bringing your pet in the car, do not leave them in there unattended for long, especially if it’s over 70 degrees. At 75 degrees outside, it takes just 10 minutes for the temperature inside the car to rise to 100 degrees, and it only gets higher as it gets warmer. Animals are at risk of heat stroke, brain damage, and death in these conditions.
If they must remain in the car, roll down windows more than a couple inches, use a sunshield, leave a bowl of water, and park in the shade. If you see a pet left alone for more than a few minutes, try to give them water, and call the police.
Hopefully you won’t need to worry about that; with good senses and a healthy car, you’re ready to have fun this summer.