The warmer weather is here, which means road trip season has finally arrived! Though the winter months can wreak havoc on your ride, the added summer-driving mileage and overall temperature increase can do damage too.
But don’t you worry, we’ve got you covered. Today, we’re going to take a look at how the experts keep their own cars on the road during the hottest seasons.
1. Cool Down
Hotter temperatures tend to increase the risk of your engine overheating. Sure, all vehicles have a comprehensive engine coolant system to help keep your engine at peak function, but those systems require maintenance too.
If you plan on hitting the road this summer, make checking your vehicle’s coolant/antifreeze levels part of your pre-trip routine. And, if it’s been a while, you may want to stop by your local service center and see about getting your coolant system flushed.
2. Stay Inflated
Experts recommend checking and maintaining your vehicles tire pressure roughly once per month.
As a rule of thumb, it’s typically believed that your tires will lose roughly one PSI every month you drive on them. So, you’ll need to stay on top of it if you’re hoping to limit the wear on your tires, prolong their life, and improve the overall fuel economy of your vehicle.
3. Purchase an Emergency Kit
Whatever the season, you should always have an emergency kit.
A roadside emergency kit is the best and only way to ensure that you have everything that you might need in case of a roadside emergency. This kit includes jumper cables, a flashlight, an air compressor, and a first-aid kit. If you’re lucky, you may never need it.
Having said that, knowing that you’re prepared for the worst is most certainly worth your $50 investment.
4. Get Your Oil Changed
Keeping up to date on your oil changes is a good idea regardless of the time of year, but that doesn’t stop people from putting off their quarterly trip to the quick lube.
Skipping your oil changes for any amount of time can cause premature wear on the parts of your engine that require lubrication. It can also cause corrosion.
So, make sure to check your oil levels and change your oil when necessary. It’ll save you from a headache later on in your car’s life.
5. Inspect Your Brakes
Brake trouble is one of the most common mechanical issues facing car owners today.
It’s also one of the most preventable. That’s because most of the replacement signs are relatively easy to recognize. A high pitched squeal, sinking brake pedal, and grinding feeling when pressing down the pedal all signify trouble.
If you notice any of these signs in your vehicle, be sure to get them checked out before you pack your vehicle full of sunscreen and beach umbrellas.
6. Replace Wipers
Vehicle owners are supposed to replace their wiper blades every six months. Though delaying this common repair isn’t as risky as skipping an oil change, you should still make your wipers a priority.
Not only does replacing your wipers help visibility in times of inclement weather, but it can also save your windshield from wiper-induced scratches.
7. Air Filter
Air filter replacements aren’t just common quick-lube add-ons. They’re an integral part of your vehicle that impacts its emissions, fuel efficiency, and lifecycle. In fact, experts recommend that you change your air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles.
If you plan on tacking on a bunch of miles this summer, do yourself, your engine, and the environment a favor and replace your air filter.
8. Get a Dashboard Sunshade
Sunshades come in handy for several reasons. They lower the overall cabin temperature dramatically, they protect your dashboard from fading, and they help prevent the sun’s UV rays from warping, fading and cracking your interior.
Protect your thousand-dollar investment with a $15 sunshade. It’s simple math, really.
9. Clean Your Car
Nobody likes to carpool in a vehicle that’s littered with discarded coffee cups and empty fast-food containers, but cleaning your vehicle is about much more than aesthetics.
Keeping your vehicle neat and tidy will prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your interior, it’ll help you avoid health issues as a result of poor air quality and allergies, and it’ll help keep you safe. After all, navigating the highway during rush-hour is hard enough without having to squint through a window caked with dirt and grime.
10. Monitor Your A/C
Your engine may keep your car moving and your brakes may keep you from bumping into things, but few things are more essential to summer driving than your vehicle’s air conditioning system.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things that you can do to prevent your AC from dying this season. Run the air conditioner for 10-minutes, at its highest setting, at least once per week. Yes, even in the winter. You’ll also want to refresh the cooling system with lubricant every two years.
Better yet, take your vehicle in for an A/C service if you haven’t done so already. It could save you thousands in repair fees and make your summer driving a whole lot easier.
No amount of preventative maintenance and care can completely protect you from all the various risks of the road. For instance, an inconveniently situated pothole can most certainly render a lot of your planning moot.
Having said that, following these 10 essential summer car care tips will help ease the burden on your vehicle and your mind. Knowing that you and your vehicle are ready for anything that the road throws at it will allow you to focus on what’s most important, the people inside your vehicle.