Oh yes, summer is finally here! And while you were busy taking out your summer gear and running those extra laps to get your body ready for the season, many seem to forget that their car also needs to get ready for the summer heat. If you’re planning on hitting the road this summer, here are a few tips to get your car ready:
1. Check Fluids
This includes the engine oil, antifreeze/coolant, windshield, power, steering, transmission and brake fluids. The main reason cars break down in the summer is from engine overheating and cooling system failure. The coolant must be replaced at least once every two years. Also, be sure to check the radiator cap before summer starts, as they tend to get cracked or damaged with the heat.
2. Check the hoses and belts
These can become brittle, loose, or cracked. Your car’s hoses and belts are critical to the proper functioning of the electrical system, air conditioning, cooling system and power steering. Make sure to check that everything is in order before hitting the road.
3. Make sure your air conditioning is working
Don’t wait until the hottest day of the summer to find out your A/C system is broken. Make sure it’s running properly and that it won’t fail on you during the hottest day of summer by checking the filter. If it doesn’t feel as cool as it once did, take your car to be checked out ASAP.
4. Check the tires
Make sure to include tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for a wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bald spots and bulges. Use a tire gauge to monitor your car’s tire pressure, but make sure to check them after they’ve cooled down, as pressure tends to rise in higher temperatures during the day. Also, be sure to have your tires rotated every 5,000 miles.
5. Check lighting and wipers
Check that all exterior and interior lighting is working properly and be sure to inspect and replace worn-out wiper blades. This will ensure that you can see as well as be seen on the road and will prevent you getting a “fix-it” ticket.
It is also recommended that drivers consider a brake inspection and tune-up to help the engine deliver the best balance of power and fuel economy. To further save on fuel costs, gas caps that are damaged, loose or missing should be replaced to prevent gas from spilling or evaporating.
Last but not least, make sure you have the proper car insurance coverage. If you’re planning on taking a road trip across several states or if you’re planning to cross international borders, make sure you talk to your insurance agent about the different types of auto insurance coverage available to you.