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Car Ed 101:Summer car care tip

Summer is here and with the warm weather comes a storm of new concerns for car owners. Relax - we've taken guessing out of the game and are providing you with a complete list of things you should accomplish before you hit the road.

Top everything off Before you load up the car with beach chairs, coolers and boogie boards, make sure it has everything it needs to run at 100 percent. AutoTrader recommends checking all fluids, like brake, windshield and antifreeze. Filling them yourself is easy and can keep some money in your pocket when you bring the car in for maintenance.

While you're at it, check the air pressure of your tires as well. It's important to remember that gas expands when it's hot outside, so make sure not to overfill it. Keeping optimal pressure in your tires can result in better fuel economy, which can go a long way on road trips, AutoTrader reports.

After you've done some minor repairs, take your car to an auto body shop to see if it needs any new parts, like an oil filter. Pieces essential to keeping the engine running smoothly must be closely watched during the summer, as it works through extreme temperatures to operate.

Clean everything out If you didn't heed the advice of our spring cleaning article, now is the time to do so. With so many places to go and visit this summer, you'll want all the space you can get as you need to fit recreational items, luggage and other essentials for camping.

While you're removing any trash, clean the dashboard and vacuum the carpet. Then, depending on how many people you're going to transport, take out any removable seats in an SUV. If you're driving a sedan, collapse the back seats if they allow it. Look to create the maximum amount of space so your elbows won't have to push against a suitcase for a nine-hour ride.

Preventative care It may seem like the maintenance never ends, but the simple fact of the matter is that small repairs each day can keep the breakdown away.

"It takes very little time and money to make sure your car runs properly during summer, and although breakdowns happen, they can definitely be minimized by taking a few extra preventive maintenance steps," Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council, said to Car and Driver magazine.

Overheating is a major problem during the summer, but following these easy tips can help you avoid it, according to Farmers Insurance:

  • Check all connections for rips or clogs
  • Keep coolant refilled
  • Bring a safety kit with essential tools you need for an overheating engine

If your car does overheat, simply pull over to the side of the road, turn off the engine and refrain from touching the radiator cap until the engine is completely cooled off.  Use antifreeze from your safety kit to refill it and get back on the road.

Car and Driver magazine also suggests rotating the tires every 6,000 miles, as this will increase the lifespan of your tires.

Above all, keep it clean. The area under your hood should be free of leaves or anything else that may have gotten in there over the winter, as it can drain your battery. Also, consider waxing your car every six months in order to keep the paint from fading. Finally, keeping your vehicle away from trees can help you avoid having to clean tree sap or pollen off of it later.

Follow these tips and your car will be looking - and running - like brand new as you take on your next adventure this summer.