5 Tips for Getting Your Car Ready for Summer
Now that we have finally shuffled off the last bits of winter and are entering the full swing of summer it’s important to make sure that your car is ready for all the fun you plan on having out in the sun. Follow these 5 tips and your car will be ready to go from the coast to the mountain and beyond no problem.
Coolant & Oil
Your car is basically a very well timed and controlled explosion and the only thing keeping it from actually blowing up is the coolant and other fluids that it pumps through to keep things from corroding or overheating. On average your car’s coolant system is running at a constant temperature of around 200 degrees. However, in hot weather that system can reach temperatures as high as 250 degrees. Making sure that your cooling system is working optimally is essential to your cars health especially in warmer weather.
To prepare your system you’ll want to check the radiator and hoses for leaks or cracks. Be sure all the connections are snug. The radiators reservoir should be half full. If you see that it is below this level add coolant or antifreeze.
Be sure to check or change your oil as well. Making sure all your pistons are firing properly and keeping things running smoothly is essential to your cars health. Your car should have a sticker on the inside listing when the last oil change took place and the millage suggested for your next change.
Be sure to watch your gauges. Even if you put fluids in and check the connections your engine can still overheat. Watch the temperature gauge to see if the engine is getting to hot. If you see the indicator rising one quick solution is to turn on the heat which will draw the hot air away from the engine. Pull over and let the engine cool.
There is nothing worse than sitting in a hot car with no A/C. Before pushing your air conditioning system to the max take a minute to inspect the belt system. Worn out or broken belts make it impossible for the car to drive the compressor. No compressor, No A/C. Be sure to also take a look at the condenser intake. This can sometimes get blocked by debris and make it difficult for the system to take in air. If this is clear your system will work much more efficiently.
You won’t be getting very far this summer if your tires aren’t working for you. Many people use winter tires with a wider tread or studs. Be sure to switch these tires out for summer. All-season or summer tires will allow your car to get more speed; have better handling and better fuel efficiency. All things we greatly appreciate in the summer months.
Unless you plan on using your heels to stop your car like Fred Flintstone it is probably a good idea to check the status of your brakes. Depending on whether your car uses disc or drums breaks and your level of familiarity with these systems will determine your next steps. In most cases the simplest solution is to talk to your mechanic about the status of your brakes and whether they need to be replaced. Also be aware that hot weather can increase the temperature of your brake system, causing them to wear more quickly.
A lot of us will be towing some sort of additional fun. Whether it’s a boat, trailer or camper, before you hook-up be sure to check your car or truck’s connections. There are a few guidelines you should follow before connecting anything to your rig. Make sure that the load is distributed properly. You should balance the weight between your axles and the tongue (hitch). Whenever you are towing it’s also a good idea to do a pre-trip inspection. Check the brakes on your car and what you’re towing. Make sure that all your brake lights and turn signals are working properly. Carefully inspect the hitch to make sure it is attached properly and double check the safety chains. After driving a few miles pull off to double check whether the load has shifted at all.
By following these simple steps you will ensure your cars ability to help provide you with a safe and adventurous summer.