Getting Your Car Ready for a Summer Road Trip
The long summer days are around the corner and if you’re planning to take your family for a weekend getaway or a road trip, it’s important to take your vehicle for a summer vehicle checkup to ensure that you’re ready for the road. What are some of the things you should look at? Keep this checklist handy when you go to the shop and request to have these parts of your car inspected:
1. Tire Pressure
Air pressure changes due to the tire’s temperature fluctuations. You can easily check the air pressure in your tires at many gas stations or pick up an inexpensive air-pressure gauge at an auto parts store. It’s important to follow this step to avoid having a flat tire during your road trip, especially if you don’t want to be stranded in high temperatures.
2. Is Your A/C Working?
Unless you drive an older model, your vehicle should have a working air conditioning system. Summer days are hot and ACs have a tendency to quit working during the worst possible times. Request to have your vehicle’s air conditioning system checked when you take it for a summer checkup.
3. Put away your winter tires
It’s time to swap your winter tires for an all-season or summer ones. Winter tires are heavier and decrease your gas mileage. They’re not fuel efficient to use during warmer days, so if you live in an area with drastic temperature changes between winter and summer, have your tires replaced ahead of the warmer weather.
4. Change the oil
It doesn’t matter what season it is, changing the oil should be part of your regular vehicle maintenance routine to ensure your vehicle’s engine runs smoothly. Road trips quickly add miles to your car. If you’ve recently had the oil changed, be sure to ask the mechanic to check the oil levels before you head out to your summer destination.
The optimum interval for conventional motor oils is 3,000 to 5,000 miles. However, check your user’s manual to know how often you need to change it.
In a previous article, we shared several tips to make your road trip a success. Find out more here.
5. Check the coolant
Coolant keeps your engine from overheating. It works overtime during the hot summer so keeping an eye on it is important. A good sign that it’s time to check the coolant is finding stains or a small coolant puddle under your vehicle. Have it replaced as part of your summer car checkup routine.
6. Replace windshield wipers
Most days during the summer months are sunny, but there’s also the occasional storm that can take you by surprise while on your weekend getaway. Wiper blades are not expensive to replace and install, and certainly make driving easier during a downpour.
7. Add a sunshade
An easy and affordable way to keep your car cool is to use a sunshade in your windshield when it is parked. They’re available for as little as a dollar and can make a difference if you need to park your vehicle in direct sunlight. They also help prevent your vehicle’s dashboard and upholstery from fading or getting cracks due to long sun exposure.
These are some of the most important summer car checkup items you need to take into consideration before your road trip.
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