Preparing for your end-of-summer road trip? We’ve got some tips to help you ensure your car is running smoothly. Extreme summer heat can stress your car’s functions, and your patience, but there are some precautions you can take to minimize these issues. While these tips are great for summer and road trips, they are also best practices you can follow to keep your car healthy all year long.
#1: Check Your Fluids: Just like you need to keep hydrated, especially in the summer heat, so does your vehicle. Seasonal weather changes can affect fluid levels in your vehicle, so it’s important to make sure they’re all topped-off and clean. Coolant fluid is particularly important in summer to prevent overheating, but transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and your oil are all important to check as well, especially before a road trip. If you aren’t comfortable checking these fluids yourself, take your car into an auto shop so a mechanic can make sure your car is road-trip ready!
#2: Inspect Your Tires: Before you head out on the road, be sure to inspect your tire health by checking for sidewall bulges, punctures, excessive or uneven wear, and checking if tire pressure is too high or low. It also is good to get your tires rotated regularly. Worn tires can be very dangerous to drive on and can cause problems on the road with braking, car handling, flats, or blowouts, so replacing worn tires is important when needed. Ensuring all your tires, including your spare, are all properly inflated and rotated can help you maximize gas mileage, prevent a flat, and have a smoother trip altogether.
#3: Test Your Brakes: If you notice any issues with your brakes such as sponginess, unusual noises (squealing, grinding, creaking, etc.) or extra pressure required to brake you should get them professionally inspected and repaired to ensure they will work correctly.
#4: Change Your Oil and Filter: Intense weather conditions, such as rain or heat in summer or extreme cold in winter, can put extra strain on your oil and oil filter. If you are planning a trip and your oil and oil filter haven’t been changed in a while, it may be necessary to change them to make sure they can continue to keep your engine parts lubricated and keep harmful debris from entering your oil system.
#5: Check Your Air Filters: Air filters are important all year to keep pollutants out of your vehicle, but in summer they work even harder due to warmer weather and higher pollen counts. Not getting your car’s air filters cleaned regularly when needed can cause debris to build up and can result in problems with your AC.
#6: Replace Worn-Out Windshield Wipers and Headlights: Being able to see while driving is a crucial component to any successful road trip, so if you notice your windshield wipers aren’t working to clear off water or your headlights seem dim and the coverings are clear of debris blocking the light beams, it’s likely time to replace them.
#7: Test Your Air Conditioning: If you haven’t already, make sure your air conditioner is working and blowing out cool air before your trip. If it’s not, you may need to add refrigerant or see a mechanic to fix the problem so you can keep cool.
#8: Check Your Battery: Extreme heat can be hard on batteries, especially in older cars, so it’s important to get them checked occasionally, especially before a road trip or if you are noticing issues with your car starting properly, any warning lights, electrical problems, dim headlights, or other issues that may relate to the battery.
#9: Prevent Too Much Heat: Preventing your car getting too hot in the sun can help make you more comfortable and prevent vehicle issues as well. If you can, try to park in the shade, crack your windows open slightly to let hot air escape, and use a windshield sunshade. It also is a good idea before a long trip in the hot sun to clean your car, inside and out. Removing perishable items or items that could melt or be heat sensitive will prevent you cleaning up a mess later, and cleaning your car’s exterior properly can prevent dirt, grime, and other substances from building up.
#10: Have a Safe Trip: Summer is often a more active time for pedestrians and bikers, as well as heightened traffic, so be sure to get adequate rest before driving, take breaks, stay hydrated in the summer heat, and stay alert.
To keep your car in top condition, especially before a road trip, it is recommended to get a tune-up of recommended services from a qualified mechanic.
Safe travels from Epicor MechanicNet!