Summer is the time when most of us hit the road for a little vacation. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling alone, with friends, or with the family, everyone needs to make sure their car is ready for the trip.
Little checks can go a long way in making sure your car is ready for those summer road trips. Don’t let a broken down car stop your summer fun. Just follow these simple tips to make sure your car will take you everywhere you want to go this summer.
Check the Oil
Higher temperatures may require a higher oil weight/viscosity. Most new cars run fine year-round on the same viscosity oil, but if you’re driving an older car that’s high on mileage, it might be helpful to upgrade to a heavier oil to compensate for internal engine wear. If you have a newer car, you don’t need to worry about the oil weight but do make sure it is topped off and your oil changes are current.
Check your Battery
Most people worry about their battery dying from the cold weather, but what they don’t realize is that car batteries are more likely to die in the heat of the summer. If your battery is over three years old, get it tested! Many places like Auto Zone will test your battery for free to make sure it is ready for all that summer fun.
Top off fluids
Your radiator’s antifreeze does not need replacing every year. But you do want to make sure it is topped off. While under there be sure to check for leaks (look for staining around hoses). And make sure you top off the windshield washer solvent.
Check your Tires
Make sure to not only check the air pressure in your tires and add to them as needed, but look for uneven wear, threads showing, or just older tires. If the tread is worn down it may be time to invest in some new tires before hitting the open road.
Check your AC
Many mechanics will try and talk you into a full flush and leak-down test every summer to make sure AC is working properly. But rest assured, if your AC is blowing cold air, it is likely fine. Some cars need nothing more than a top off of AC refrigerant once a year. If the top off doesn’t fix it, ask for a test using pressure gauges, which will diagnose the real problem and avoid unnecessary replacement of parts.
Stop by the Dealer
Car repairs, not your thing? Consider dropping your car off at a dealer for an oil change and general inspection. They can easily look everything over for you and recommend any needed maintenance before you set off on your summer adventures.