How to Do Summer Car Maintenance
When summer finally arrives, it means taking road trips to your favorite vacation spots. If you’re like many Americans, then chances are you will use your car for at least a portion of your summer travel. Preparing your car for summer will make it much more likely that it won’t hold you back from whatever the season brings.
Getting Your Car Ready for Summer
The seasons take a major toll on your vehicle, just as they can take a toll on you. When winter comes, we put on a coat and turn on the heat. When summer gets here, we bring out the T-shirts and turn on the air conditioning (AC). Cars also have different needs in different seasons, and by giving your vehicle a little extra attention at the beginning of the summer, you can keep it in top shape for the long haul.
Step 1: Check your oil and engine filters. Clean oil is a huge part of your vehicle’s overall health, and new filters ensure that your vehicle is functioning at its best.
Common filters to change inside the vehicle are the oil, air, and fuel filters. There may be others as well that you want to get checked out, so consult your owner’s manual to verify what needs to be inspected and at what intervals they need to be changed.
Step 2: Check your air conditioning system. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of traffic on a hot day and realize that your AC is failing.
Even if you managed without a properly functioning system in the winter, the summer heat will make driving unbearable. Have a trusted mechanic take a look at your AC if it is working erratically. You may want to get an inspection even if you don’t notice any issues, especially if it has been a while since your last service.
Step 3: Check your tires. The quality of your tires determines the safety of your vehicle and how likely you are to get stranded.
Check the air pressure of the tires to make sure they are inflated to the proper level, which is usually indicated on the wall of the tire itself. You can also consult the car manufacturer’s recommendation, as listed on the door panel of the car.
Get your tires checked if you have persistent air pressure issues or if you notice visible deformities, like cracking. If it has been a while since your last tire rotation (a service usually performed every 5,000 miles), then have your wheels rotated to maintain even tread wear.
Step 4: Inspect the lights in your car. Have a friend stand outside the vehicle while you turn all the lights on and off to be sure they are working properly.
Check the brake lights, headlights, and turn signals.
Step 5: Keep tools and first aid on hand. Having some basic necessities is important in case you have car issues or an emergency.
Check your car’s spare tire to make sure it’s in good condition, and determine if the jack is present and functional. Also check for other key tools like the tire iron.
In terms of first aid, you can buy a pre-packaged kit to serve you in the event of injury. You should have bandages, cleaning supplies, various ointments to treat bug bites or rashes, and any medicine that you could need in an emergency.
Keep some non-perishable snacks and water on hand in case you are stranded somewhere, and make sure you have a car charger for your phone.
Summer is a great time for travel. If your car is well maintained and stocked with essential items, the chances of breaking down when you’d rather be at the beach are greatly reduced.