If you will be hitting the road this summer, there is always a checklist of things to consider. You need to make sure you have packed all the things you will need for the trip and you’ll need to make sure your home is secure. If you have pets, you need to ensure they will be well-taking care of in your absence or take them with you which leads to another list. Make sure your car is ready for the road by considering these 6 tips so you can enjoy your time behind the wheel and not have to worry about what’s going on under the hood.
- Quick inspection - At least twice a year (just before summer and just before winter), be proactive and check and top off all your fluid levels, battery terminal connections, belts, hoses, brakes, tires, wipers, and lighting to catch any small issue before it has you stranded.
- Check your AC - If your air is blowing cold, you should be set for the summer. If, however, something is not right, or it stops working properly, you may need a full flush and leak-down test to make sure AC is working. If you have plenty of this fluid, ask your service center for a test using pressure gauges, which will diagnose the real problem and avoid unnecessary replacement of parts.
- Check your oil - Higher temperatures require higher oil weight/viscosity. Most new cars run fine year-round on the same viscosity oil, but if you're driving an older car, that has higher mileage, it might be helpful to switch to a heavier oil to compensate for excess internal engine wear. However, before making the switch, do your research and check your owner’s manual to make sure your specific car will perform well with a heavier and thicker oil during the summer heat.
- Check your battery date - Those cold winter months can wreak havoc on your car’s battery, so if your battery is over three years old, get it tested. Most people don’t realize the damage the heat can have on a car’s battery, but it can be just as daunting as the cold effects of winter. The only thing that is worse than getting stuck out on the highway in frigid temperatures is to be stuck out on the highway in unbearable heat, so make sure your battery is up to date and up to the task of summertime weather.
- Change your air filters - Our engines need fresh air to operate effectively and driving with dirty filters prevents that fresh air from getting to your engine, which has a lasting effect on your engine's well-being, as well as the car’s fuel economy. Engine air filters are super easy to replace and it’s a staple repair at the service station or you can do it yourself. There are washable and reusable ones on the market for better filtration and long-term savings. The cabin air filter, which keeps outside smells and pollens out of your heating and A/C systems, needs to be checked as well.
- Consider summer tires - If you put winter snow tires on your vehicle in the fall, now is the time to change them out. Heat and sunlight break down the rubber on your tires and summertime can be just as harsh on your tires as the winter elements. All-season tires are designed to handle all the different road conditions, but to maximize your year-round driving enjoyment, consider investing in wider wheels and summer tires for warmer months, and having winter tires on skinnier rims for colder months.
If you follow these preventative tips in the days leading up to summer, you will be able to keep your car in good running condition all season long and let you take full advantage of all your summertime travels! If I can be of any assistance, please contact me!
By Big Joe Turner