Summer fun often brings about a road trip or two. Make sure your fun isn’t interrupted by checking out the top five ways to prepare your car for summer.
Check Your Brakes
Brakes in good working condition are essential for safe driving. Winter driving often takes a toll on brakes given the slower speeds and consistent speed reductions. Add the constant temperature change of warm brake pads doused in cold winter water, and your brakes are ready for a vacation as much as you are.
If you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, brakes can be checked by removing the wheels and the brake pads, and checking them for cracking or significant wear. Not so mechanically inclined? You can do a quick exterior check by looking to see if the edges are crumbling or discolored. It is also a good idea to check that the brake rotors and drums do not have significant cracks.
Check Your Oil
Regular oil changes are always a good idea; conventional oil should be changed every 4,000-5,000 miles, and synthetic oil should be changed every 6,000-7,000 miles. In between oil changes and before major road trips, the oil should be checked to make sure everything is in working order.
Checking your oil is relatively simple. All you need is a clean rag or cloth. Pull out the oil dipstick, wipe off the oil from the bottom of the dipstick. Reinsert it all the way, then pull it back out. If the oil is not amber in color, it is a sign that your oil should be changed. If the level falls below the minimum line, you will need to add more oil. It is always best to add oil gradually so that it does not go over the maximum fill level.
Check Your Coolant
In the hot summer, it is crucial that your coolant levels and mix are up to par. The overflow tank should be close to or up to the max fill line. Consider obtaining a coolant tester from an auto parts store to check the mixture level. The mixture should be correct for the coolant to work to its full potential.
Wash Your Car
The grit and grime of winter can pay a toll on your vehicle, especially the parts you can’t see. The brake lines, engine, and all of the undercarriage are susceptible to salt, sand, and all of the grittiness that winter brings to the roadways.
Matt D’Souza, vice president of sales operations at Washify, says, “Car owners should perform a thorough undercarriage wash once the weather turns warm. On the outside, use only high-quality cleansers to remove any damaging salt build-up.”
Take things a step further and consider cleaning out your trunk and the rest of your car. Then it will be road-trip worthy whenever the urge strikes.
Top Off Other Fluids
Other fluids in the car should be checked and topped off to avoid any surprises during the warm summer months. Brake fluid, power steering fluid, and automatic transmission fluid are all essential to maintain proper functioning of your car. Many auto places will check these levels when they change your oil and replace the oil filter. Some oil change places will check the fluid levels of your vehicle for free if you are a regular customer.