Hallelujah, Summer’s coming!
Are there any special road trips on your agenda this year? If so, it’s wise to remember that the extra miles combined with the heat can definitely take a toll on your car.
It probably needs a little extra love to ensure it will be roadworthy all season long. Not sure where to start? Here are seven simple steps to take before your summer driving fun begins.
1. Check Your Engine Cooling System
Your radiator protects your engine from overheating.
And running a vehicle that’s too hot can crack the engine block or warp the cylinder head. To avoid those expensive repairs, make sure your engine’s cooling system is in tip-top shape.
WARNING: Never remove a radiator cap on a hot car. Put your safety first, and let your car cool before proceeding.
You’ll want to check the coolant level in your car. If you need to add more, don’t add straight water. Instead, add coolant or antifreeze.
Then once your coolant is topped off, it’s time to check your hoses. There are several heater hoses that cycle the coolant to all of the engine’s components. You’ll want to visually inspect each of these – looking for dry, cracked hoses.
You can also squeeze each hose. If you notice the rubber is soft anywhere, it’s probably indicating a weak spot on the hose. And weaknesses can lead to a leak and an overheated engine, so you’ll want to replace them right away!
2. Check Your Air Conditioner
While your car’s cooling system keeps your engine cool, the AC system ensures you are.
Turn on your AC and feel the air coming out. If it’s not blowing out cold air, it’s time to work on the system a bit.
Next, visually check the AC hoses for cracks. You can also check your condenser and cabin air filter to ensure they aren’t obstructed. If you don’t see anything obvious, it might be time for a Freon recharge.
You can buy cans of Freon and DIY, or you can take it to your local mechanic. If you decide to DIY, read the directions carefully. Never attempt a repair you aren’t comfortable with.
Once you’ve added the can, shut off your engine and listen carefully. If there’s a leak, your ear should lead you to it.
3. Check Your Summer Tires
Another way to prepare your car is to go around your vehicle and check all of its tires.
What you’re looking for is any abnormal wear. I.e. you might notice the outer part of the tire is more damaged than the inner part. Or vice versa.
If your tires are wearing unevenly, you might need an alignment. It could also mean your tire pressure isn’t adjusted properly.
And keeping your tires properly inflated will help prevent premature wear on your treads. And you’ll also get better gas mileage, helping you to save money on those upcoming summer trips.
4. Check Your Brakes
As you drive, shut off the radio and take a few minutes to listen to your vehicle.
When you slow down and stop, do you hear anything? Noise while operating is a sign that your brakes might need some work. Another warning sign is pulsating brakes.
If you aren’t comfortable checking your own pads, discs or drums, take your car to your local mechanic for a brake check. They can also check your rotors to ensure everything is working smoothly.
Before summer, you should also check the level of your brake fluid. It’s a dark fluid in a clear canister and you want to make sure that the fluid level is above the minimum line and below the maximum line.
This fluid can become too acidic and begin eating away at the metal components of your brakes. And since copper is the weakest metal in the brake system, it’s often affected first.
One way to test this is to pick up some copper test strips at an auto supply store and check your brake fluid for copper content. If your test reveals more than 300 ppm of copper, it’s probably time to flush your brakes. Doing so will prevent the contaminated fluid from causing any more damage.
5. Inspect Your Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers are essential to safe driving. I mean, it’s good to be able to see while you drive, right?
You’ll want to check all of your wipers for cracks or hard rubber. And if you find some, replace your wipers ASAP.
It’s smart to check your washer fluid levels as well. If you’re running low, top off the reservoir with more fluid, not plain water. You’ll keep your systems running properly and your windows clean!
6. Check Your Lights
You want all of your lights to be fully functional before hitting the road.
Grab a friend and with their help, test all of them. One person can sit in the car and turn on the various lights. The other person can walk around the vehicle and ensure everything lights up.
Besides not seeing properly, you can get ticketed and fined for having lights burnt out. To avoid a hefty fine, remember to check your license plate light as well!
While you’re making sure all the lights turn on, take time to quickly examine them. If you see water buildup inside the headlights, or condensation on the inside of any light, they probably need to be replaced.
7. Clean Your Car Inside and Out
Depending on where you live, your vehicle could suffer from the salt and magnesium in winter’s deicer.
It can rust your metal and cause damage. Any easy fix is to wash your car (including the undercarriage) to clean off all of those minerals.
You’ll also want to clean the inside of your vehicle. Snow can easily get packed in on boots all winter long, along with rocks and grime. Take time to vacuum and get it all cleaned up. Not only is it a nice riding experience, it also helps you maintain the resale value!
Is Your Car Ready for Summer?
So, is your car ready to hit the roads this Summer?
If not and you need some parts to get it roadworthy, remember that Tear-A-Part has a large inventory waiting for you to select from. From headlights to AC compressors, we probably have just what you’re looking for.
Contact us first for your car’s summer parts – you’ll save a lot of money buying used! And most of all, have a fun and safe summer!