You may know that it is imperative to prep your vehicle for the harsh winter months, but summer maintenance is important too. There are automotive measures that you should take when things heat up, and you’re ready to hit the road for that hard-earned vacation.

Nice summer weather may entice you to be on the road more, so make sure that your vehicle is in the best condition to handle all of those miles in the sun. You will also want to enable your car to get the best gas mileage possible.

De-Winterize your car. Before you do anything else, get rid of those heavy snow tires because they significantly lower your fuel economy. Also, if your car hasn’t been driven much during the winter, make sure that all of your fluid levels are where they should be. And, finally, give the undercarriage of your car a thorough cleaning. The salt that is used on roads to melt snow and ice is highly corrosive, and it will eat away at the metal on your car if it is not removed. auto maintenance, auto repair, car tips

Check your hoses and belts. The hoses that are connected to the radiator are essential for the coolant to be pumped to and from the engine block. And the belts in your vehicle run the fan that cools the entire system. If a hose breaks or a belt snaps, your car will be at risk to overheat.

Change your air filter. During the winter season, the air filter in your car can get clogged with salt and other debris, and a clogged air filter will lower your fuel efficiency. In fact, replacing a dirty air filter can improve your gas mileage by as much as 10%.

Replace your windshield wipers. Ice, snow and salt can make cracks and tears in the rubber that compromise the effectiveness of wiper blades. So, if your wipers are leaving visible streaks on the windshield, or you notice that it takes several passes to clear away light rain, get new ones right away. You don’t want to be caught unprepared in a sudden summer downpour.

Have your air conditioner checked. No one wants to be cooped up in a hot car during a long commute. The most common cause of air conditioner malfunction is a low level of refrigerant. And if your car was built before 1994, it is extra important that you have a professional handle your refrigerant. This is because your car most likely contains Freon, a chlorofluorocarbon that is highly destructive to the ozone layer. This chemical must be disposed of or recycled with extreme caution.