If preference dictates the use of air conditioning, then a thorough check of the system will be necessary as summer approaches. Hopefully the system was cycled on and off during the winter in order to keep the pumps and seals lubricated. In any case, as summer approaches, turn the system on and make sure that cold air is present in the selected modes and at the appropriate vents. If the air is cool but not cold, if the temperature fluctuates dramatically with engine RPM, or if the air does not blow at the appropriately selected vents, it is time for a trip to the shop. Belts, hoses, refrigerant quantity, seals (checked by verifying vacuum pressure), and the condenser will all be checked for condition. Additionally, at the next oil change, ask the attendant to change the cabin air filter in preparation for the dusty season ahead. During summer, one should be mindful of the draw on engine power when the AC is running. If the car is working hard to climb hills at low speed, for example, it may be time to open the windows.
As always, any tire, including all-season radials, should be checked for proper inflation on a regular (once a month) basis. Over-inflated tires are more prone to blow out, and under-inflation leads to wear. Both conditions are exacerbated by high summer temperatures, and improper inflation can be caused by thermal expansion as outside air temperatures fluctuate. Beyond proper inflation, changing to a seasonal tire can provided better performance in summer. Summer tires have harder rubber compounds that withstand hot roads better than the soft rubber tires used in winter.
FLUID INSPECTION COOLANT:
Verifying the quality and quantity of the cooling/lubricating fluids in the engine is an important summer task. Coolant should be clean, bright, and filled to the approved level. Coolant, when added, must be mixed in a 50:50 ratio with distilled water unless purchased as "pre-mixed." Coolant should be changed completely every 2 years as a part of regular service.
Oil must be of the appropriate summer grade and should be changed regularly (every 3-5 thousand miles or as recommended). Although warm temperatures are generally better for oil, using the wrong viscosity can be a serious problem as temperatures rise. Light oil, designed to work in the cold temperatures of winter, will be too thin to work in high temperatures and will break down and fail to lubricate engine components. At a spring oil change, make sure to switch to the grade of oil that is recommended for summer use.