10 Tips to Prepare Your Mercedes-Benz for a Houston Summer
High temperatures can be problematic for vehicles in any region, but the extra heat, humidity and intense sun of the Houston area can be especially damaging to your Mercedes-Benz. The intense heat and humidity can reduce the efficiency of the engine’s cooling system, and make your air conditioner work overtime to keep you comfortable. A combination of the heat and the sun can soften rubber components, like tires, making them wear faster, and it can prevent the brakes from cooling properly. Ultraviolet radiation can damage your paint job and cause interior surfaces to fade. To make sure that your vehicle is ready for the summer, bring it to your local Mercedes-Benz dealer for a bit of preventive maintenance.
Here are a few tips to keep your Mercedes-Benz protected during the Houston summer:
#1 Have The Air Filter Changed
In order for a gasoline engine to run properly, it needs a sufficient supply of air, plenty of fuel and a strong spark. If the air filter on your Mercedes-Benz is dirty, the engine will not be able acquire the necessary amount of air for efficient combustion, leading to poor fuel economy, higher fuel costs and possible engine problems. During the summer in the Houston, dust, pollen and other pollutants can easily clog the air filter, but it is inexpensive and easy to have it changed, which will help keep your vehicle running properly and protect its engine.
#2 Check the Fluids
Proper fluid levels are important at all times, especially during the summer. Both the engine oil and the coolant keep the engine at the correct operating temperature and the transmission fluid helps to keep the transmission from overheating. Low oil levels can cause dangerous friction in the engine and low coolant levels could allow the engine to overheat, possibly damaging the head gasket, heads or the engine block. A low transmission fluid level could allow the transmission to overheat, damaging critical components, or it could starve the clutches, solenoids and gears of lubrication, leading to premature transmission failure. By having the fluids checked at the beginning of the summer, and with every maintenance visit, you can prevent severe and expensive damage to the engine and the transmission.
#3 Inspect the Belts
The belts in an engine use the crankshaft to drive important components like the water pump, alternator, air conditioner and, on some engines, the radiator cooling fan. High temperatures can contribute to excess belt wear, and if the belt breaks while driving, it could stop the alternator from charging the battery, prevent the air conditioner from running properly, and stop the coolant from circulating through the engine. It is a good idea to have the belt checked near the beginning of summer, and replace it if necessary.
#4 Charge the Air Conditioner
Summer is not the time to find out that the air conditioner in your Mercedes-Benz is malfunctioning. Before the heat arrives, have it inspected by your local Mercedes-Benz dealership. They can make sure it has the correct amount of refrigerant, that the belts and electrical system are in good condition, and that all the controls are working properly. The air conditioning system is very reliable in Mercedes-Benz vehicles, but can require periodic maintenance.
#5 Check the Tires
The heat of the summer and the hot pavement can be especially tough on tires, causing them to wear quicker. Have your tires checked at the beginning and the end of summer, and replace them when necessary. It is also good to have the suspension components checked for wear at the same time, and the steering aligned, if required. With good quality tires on your vehicle, and a properly-functioning suspension system, you’ll be prepared when summer storms make the roads wet and slippery.
#6 Inspect the Brakes
Brake pads and discs both wear faster as temperatures increase. Have the pads and discs checked at the start of summer to ensure that you have the stopping power necessary for an emergency. In addition, make sure that the anti-lock brake system and traction control systems are operating properly, and that the brake fluid is at the proper level.
#7 Change the Wiper Blades
In the extreme heat and the intense sun of the summer, the rubber on your wiper blades can degrade quickly, which will make it difficult to see during summer rain storms. Have the wiper blades checked at the beginning of the summer, and replaced, if necessary.
#8 Check the Battery
During the summer, it is easy for a battery to overheat while charging, losing some of its electrolytes if it is not a sealed battery. This can reduce the performance of the battery, making it hard to start your vehicle, or it could cause the battery to fail prematurely. Have the battery tested and maintained before the summer to make sure you do not get stranded with a dead battery.
#9 Protect the Interior and Exterior Finishes
The intense sun in the Houston area can easily cause a vehicle’s exterior paint to fade and become discolored, and can also cause significant damage to the interior. Have your vehicle’s exterior washed thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of wax or sealant to protect the paint from the ultraviolet radiation of the sun, as well as dust, dirt and rocks. Have the interior cleaned and treated to prevent fading and cracking of the leather upholstery and other interior surfaces.
#10 Keep Fluids On hand
Make sure you have of the basic fluids for your vehicle available in case of emergency, such as oil, coolant and wiper fluid. Keep some drinking water ad snacks in the car as well, and tools to change a tire, if necessary.
By following these simple tips, you can prevent expensive damage and ensure your Mercedes-Benz is ready for summertime adventures.