Getting your vehicle ready for summer 2016!
It’s May now and the reality of what’s rapidly approaching is finally setting in: it’s nearly summertime again. Are you ready for a summer filled with fun and sun? Is your family ready to take that summer road trip you’ve been discussing? Make sure your car is ready to keep you cool and moving down the road with this ultimate guide to preparing your car for summer.
Step One – start from the ground up with your tires. Start by looking at your tires, how is your tread? Tread can affect gas mileage and your risk of getting a flat tire. Make sure you have adequate tread on your tires before heading out to your weekend barbeque with the family. Do all of your tires have sufficient air? Tire pressure is just as important to fuel economy and road safety as tread. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle tires should be listed on the sticker located inside of the driver's door of your vehicle. The Tire Pressure listed visibly on the tire is the Tire Manufacturer's maximum pressure, not the Vehicle Manufacturer's recommended tire pressure. Be careful not to get the two confused!
When you inspect your tires, don’t forget to check the spare in your trunk too! You never know when you might end up with a flat tire, make sure your spare tire has sufficient air pressure and tread just as the other tires on your car. You want to be able to change your tire and keep moving. If you do have to use your spare tire, and it is a donut style spare, remember that these are not designed for long distance driving. If you do get a flat, change the tire and get to your nearest repair shop.
Tire Tread and Air Pressure are key to fuel economy and performance...
Step Two - Moving up under the hood to examine your Radiator. (Always allow a vehicle that’s been running to sit and cool down for at least 45-60 minutes before touching the engine compartment. This is for your safety to prevent burns and unnecessary injury.) With it being so warm these months, you want to make sure your cooling system is in tip-top shape. The Radiator is what keeps your engine and vehicle from overheating while you’re out on that cross country road trip you’ve been planning. Be sure to clear visible debris, such as leaves and dirt, from your radiator and grill. Don’t forget to check to make sure your radiator cap is screwed on tightly and seals completely. Run the vehicle and watch from below to check for leaks.
Step Three – Addressing what’s in the cabin. The first thing we think of when it comes to summertime and our cars is, “How well does my A/C work?” The cooling system in your vehicle keeps you and your passengers comfortable on your way to beach, and it keeps you sane when you’re stuck in evening commuter traffic. People are at risk for more than just heat exhaustion when A/C systems aren’t working properly. Make sure the air being pushed around your car is clean, check the air filter for clogging and dirt. It’s usually located behind the glovebox in most makes and models. Consult your Owner’s Manual or your local repair shop if you’re experiencing trouble locating your cabin air filter.
Air Conditioning issues in vehicles aren’t easily identifiable or simple to repair without the proper equipment and tools. If your air conditioning is having troubles, take it into a repair shop for a standard A/C Service - this will usually include a flush and re-charge of the system.
Step Four – Take a look out the windshield. Make sure you stop into your local gas station or car wash to have your windshield cleaned weekly, as bugs and dirt build up a layer that can impair visibility. This is especially common with interstate or freeway driving and long road trips. Check and change your windshield wipers! Even though we’re at low risk of rain now, most wipers have become used and worn from the winter use. Cracking and irregularities in the rubber are strong indicators that wipers need to be replaced. Dust and other dirt debris can collect in and around wiper blades, causing them to scratch the windshield. Take a moment to inspect your Windshield Wiper fluid level before closing your hood and taking your vehicle out on the road for a test drive.