Summer is upon us and you know what it means. Lots of road trips with the family. The lure of the open road and sunny skies is irresistible. But, before hitting the road this summer, there are several precautions you need to do to make sure that your family is safe and you save on costly repairs.
Extreme heat coupled with long drives can be harsh to your cars. It frequently results to leaky radiators, cracked hoses, dirty filters and underinflated tires. If this happens, it can result in a lower fuel efficiency and much worse, a total breakdown.
Check your Tires
This is often neglected part of a car. We should know that an under-inflated, misaligned and worn tire could pose a great danger to the user, especially in the summer. Tire pressure is something that should always be checked because it changes with the rise in temperature.
The tires will blow if it is underinflated. This is because it bulges outward and puts pressure in the sidewalls of the tire. Meanwhile, and over-inflated tire often leads to hydroplaning on wet roads. You should bring your car to your local shop to have them check. Don’t forget your spare tires too.
Change Oil and Oil Filter
Like blood to the body, this is how valuable your oil for your car is. Its function is to keep the engine parts clean, running smoothly and cool. An oil changes specialist every 3,000 miles should check and change it. Since we are going on many trips during the summer, check the oil before heading out to reduce the risk of overheating.
De-Winterize your Car
The changing of the season is also time for you to de-winterize your car to get ready for the summer. First is to change those snow tires. If you have not used your car during the winter, it is time to bring it to a car shop and have the following check: transmission differential, brake fluid, power steering and the coolant. Check for possible leaks. An oil and battery check should also be in order.
Another important part of the car that needs to be checked should be the undercarriage. The salt used during winter can accumulate on the underside causing damages to the metal. It should be removed and cleaned off the gunk.
Check on the Hoses and Belts
During summer months, you need to keep your engine cool. Part of keeping your engine in good running condition, you need to check on your hoses connected to the radiator and belts that run the fan to help keep the engine cool. If any of them cracked while driving, you will be left stranded.
You need to check on belts and hoses to anticipate potential trouble. Hoses can be damaged through a slow degradation process called ECD. This eats away the rubber from the inside. Belts can be checked visually for loose connections, leaks, and cracks.
Change the air filter
During the winter months, your air filter can be choked with salt and other debris. This will contribute to low fuel efficiency therefore, it is advisable to replace them. Your air filter can also get clogged if you do a lot of driving on dirt roads. Make sure to do regular checks on them all throughout the summer.
Replace the Wipers
Expect occasional rain showers and thunderstorms in the summer. With plenty of water gushing down your windshield, you need a wiper in good working condition especially while driving at night. Another reason why you need to replace your wiper is the tough condition it has gone through during the winter. It decreases the effectiveness of your wiper, it is high time you replace them.
Check your brakes
For you and your family’s safety, make sure to have your brakes checked and properly maintained before taking your car in a long drive. The brake pads should be replaced when the lining is past the minimum thickness requirement. You can consult your regular service shop or brake specialist.
If you observe a problem with your brake, it should be inspected and repaired at the soonest possible time. Delaying them will lead to increase in the cost of repairs.
Check the coolant and radiator
The engine is designed to get hot but at a maximum temperature of 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything beyond this will cause the engine to overheat and start to melt the metallic moving parts and eventually fused. This will cause a hefty cost for your repairs.
This is the purpose of your car’s cooling system. With the use of an antifreeze and a complex system of pumps and hoses, it keeps the car engines’ temperature at an optimal level. If there will be a problem with the system like a decrease in the coolant level, cracked hose, radiator leak and as small as a missing radiator cap can spell trouble. Make sure that you have a well-tuned cooling system and radiator before driving off.
Clean your Battery
If winter has been tough for your car battery, summer can get worse. This is because the summer heat will hasten the chemical reaction inside your battery, which can shorten its lifespan. You need to keep the batteries clean and check the wire cables if the connections are all secure. You can also bring them to the service shop for battery inspection.
Maintain your air-conditioning system
The most important part of your car during summer is your air conditioning system. If it malfunctions, among the common cause is the low refrigerant level. Maybe there is a leak somewhere in the system. This issue must be handled only by a professional since modern air conditioning systems are more complicated nowadays.
The key to having a worry free road trip this summer is to be completely prepared. By simply following the tips above can your car perform better while keeping you and your family safe on the road. Not only your car will survive the hot summer months but also you can also enjoy the freedom of driving and not get stranded in the heat.