Summer is rapidly approaching and it is the busiest time of the year for road trips and vacations. Aside from the fact that cars need maintenance regularly (varying by season), your vehicle also needs extra care when planning road trips to make sure that your family is safe and saving money on gas prices or unexpected costly repairs.
The Original 1-800-Charity Cars, a national non-profit that has provided thousands of free donated vehicles to struggling families throughout the United States, understands the importance of vehicle care, safe travel, and saving money; so we would like to offer you the following list of things you can do to prepare your car to go wherever the summer season may take you.
The most important item on your list of summer vehicle preparation should be your coolant system. Take the time to get the radiator pressure tested and all hoses inspected. Be sure to also check the water pump and thermostat. Don’t overlook the antifreeze, either. Over time, antifreeze can cause a weak electric current leading to oxidation and failure in your coolant system, so it is always a wise idea to flush it out and refill with fresh antifreeze.
Have the air conditioning unit inspected for leaks and have an evaluation of the refrigerant level performed. At the same time, be sure to check for damaged or worn belts and that the fins on the condenser are free of debris.
Summer can be very harsh on tires, as rising temperatures change tire pressure. First, be sure your tires are over all in a healthy condition. Make sure they have good tread, with no bulges or damages. Make sure your tire pressure is correct by referring to your owner’s manual or the inside of your driver side door for proper pressure amounts. If possible, purchase all-season tires or summer tires, which are lighter and will not wear out as quickly.
PROTECT YOUR VEHICLES INTERIOR FROM THE HEAT
The summer temperatures can be high, so try to keep your vehicle protected from the direct sunlight. Use a dashboard sun shield, park in a shaded area, garage, covered parking lot or use a car cover. You can also wipe down the interior of your vehicle with protectant or, if you have leather interior, use a really good quality conditioner.
Don’t overlook your basic maintenance. This includes things like brakes, battery, lights, windshield wipers, air filter, oil, hoses, belts and replenishing fluids. Your regular basic maintenance on your vehicle should always be performed, no matter the season, to ensure your car is running efficiently and to avoid any serious issues that can result from neglecting regular maintenance.
Be sure to update your navigation system maps. This will ensure that you have up to date information; including new roads, points of interest and more efficient routes.
Summer time is typically categorized as the season that is the most fun, and by following the tips above to prepare your vehicle for the summertime, you can help ensure that your summer driving experiences will be safe, efficient, and more reliable.