5 Ways to Take Care of Your Car This Summer

Do you have a summer road trip or vacation planned? Stop by AutoZone to get all your tune up essentials. We've compiled a list of maintenance tips to get you to your next destination and through the summer.

5 Ways to Take Care of Your Car This Summer

Car wash supplies in front of a shiny looking car.

Wash and wax

It's probably going to be dirty. Winter is full of ice and snow and sludge and salt. Get all that winter grime off with a full wash of the vehicle. When you're done, give the car a solid wax to protect the paint throughout the summer. Wash your car in a shady area with car-wash soap and a microfiber wash mitt. Start with the wheels, because you'll want to clean the dirtiest part of your car first. Dry the car when you're done. Apply and remove wax in sections. Finish by cleaning the glass.


Clean the Interior, Too

Spring's a great time to finally clean out that interior. Get everything out of the trunk and the backseat, throw away drive-thru receipts, and get everything wiped down. Interior wipes make cleaning the inside a cinch, so don't skip this.

worn wiper blade held up in the air

Change the wiper blades

Cold weather can crack the rubber on wipers. Wipers get used a lot in the cold: clearing off snow, rain, grime, and even just helping to clear a foggy windshield. The last thing you want to hear all summer are screechy wipers, so take care of them before that starts.

Wiper installs are simple. Carefully raise the wiper arm and remove the old wiper. On some cars you'll simply press a tab to remove the old wiper, but on others you may need to unhook a clamp. If you're unsure about the install, an AutoZoner can help you. Put the new wipers on and gently lower the wiper arm. Test the new wipers to make sure you're not hearing any screeches or seeing any streaking.


Check your light bulbs

Even with days getting longer, this is a great time to maximize your visibility at night and in tough weather. Dim, faded or not working headlights should be replaced immediately. This job is easier than you think on most vehicles. Simply find the correct casing and unscrew the seal if there is one.

Make a quarter turn on the back of the casing to pull the old bulb out. Pull a tab to unplug the old bulb and plug in the new one. Install the new bulb in the housing, make a quarter turn to lock it in, and then replace the seal if there is one. Check your owners manual for instructions specific to your vehicle. When replacing headlights, replace bulbs in pairs so both sides shine evenly.

Duralast battery on a shop table in front of an open Nissan Altima.

Take a look at your battery

Cold weather is murder on a battery. Sometimes batteries that survive the winter fail unexpectedly in the spring. You don't want that to happen to you. Bring your car into AutoZone for a free battery check. An AutoZoner will be able to tell you the status of your battery and recommend a good replacement, if necessary. And they'll put it in your car for free, where allowed to do so by law.

person showing how to install an new air filter

Check your filters and fluids

Changing your air filter and cabin air filter are simple, quick jobs that make a big difference for your engine and drive quality. When changing your filters, clear any leaves or debris from under the hood. While you're under the hood, check out your fluids. Coolant / Antifreeze is usually easy to see, make sure it's near the MAX line. If not, grab some 50/50 for a top-up.

You'll also want to take a glance at your power steering, automatic transmission, and brake fluid reservoirs. Check your owner's manual or ask an AutoZoner if you're having trouble finding each one. The engine air filter is under the hood and prevents contaminants from getting into the engine. The cabin air filter cleans the air you breathe inside the car. It's usually located behind the glove box on the passenger side. Both filters take just a few minutes to replace. Check your owner's manual for exact locations.

Tips from the experts

All these help get your car in shape. Looking for a more in-depth check? Make sure to penny-check your tires, take a look at your suspension, and pedal test your brakes. If you noticed rough idling during the winter, replace your spark plugs. When you’re under the hood changing the air filter, take a look at your engine belt to make sure it isn’t cracked. Also, turn on your air conditioner before you need it. Make sure it’s working now, so you won’t be without it on a hot day.

Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair, and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always wear gloves and safety glasses, and work in a well-ventilated area.

Advice, how-to guides, and car care information featured on AutoZone.com and AutoZone Advice & How-To’s are presented as helpful resources for general maintenance and automotive repairs from a general perspective only and should be used at your own risk. Information is accurate and true to the best of AutoZone’s knowledge, however, there may be omissions, errors or mistakes.

Be sure to consult your owner’s manual, a repair guide, an AutoZoner at a store near you, or a licensed, professional mechanic for vehicle-specific repair information. Refer to the service manual for specific diagnostic, repair and tool information for your particular vehicle. Always chock your wheels prior to lifting a vehicle. Always disconnect the negative battery cable before servicing an electrical application on the vehicle to protect its electrical circuits in the event that a wire is accidentally pierced or grounded. Use caution when working with automotive batteries. Sulfuric acid is caustic and can burn clothing and skin or cause blindness. Always wear gloves and safety glasses and other personal protection equipment, and work in a well-ventilated area. Should electrolyte get on your body or clothing, neutralize it immediately with a solution of baking soda and water. Do not wear ties or loose clothing when working on your vehicle.

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