Summer Is Coming, Is Your Car Ready? Here Are 10 Tips
Just two more months until summer is officially in the Northern and Southern hemisphere (in the United States it starts June 21st) and just as you’re counting down for beach trips and refreshing drinks, those who have a vehicle cannot forget about their car. Thinking about driving around all summer, maybe even a road trip in mind? Here’s how to be ready for the ride.
- Check Coolant for Cold Air
To deal with the hot weather you need to inspect the coolant mix and the coolant level. The radiator tank should be full, and you can check at any auto parts store for the water to ethylene glycol ratio which needs to be adjusted for maximum cooling. For better performance make sure to change the coolant at least once a year.
- Check All Tires
Tires, aside from the transmission, is what gets you from point A to point B. They have an enormous impact on safety and performance, and it’s one of the few components on the vehicle that can kill you and your passengers if ignored. Accidents can happen if left unattended such as a worn or underinflated set of tires can be detrimental to handling and braking which can lead to blow-outs at speed.
If you have all four seasons than it’s also suggested to change into the dedicated winter and summer tires, and before switching them make sure to inspect both sets of rubber. Even when you use all-season tires, make sure to check for bubbles in the sidewalls (which can be a sign of broken belts in the tire’s carcass) and visible wear bars. Check for missing balance weights – the clip-on or stick-on lead/steel weights that mount to the edge or inside of your wheels and while you’re at it, check that your spare tire is properly inflated.
- Check Oil
As for the oil change make sure to check for the level and color; “if it’s still a pleasant shade of amber and meets the fill mark, then you’re ok. If it’s amber but low, top it off. If it’s nasty and black, change it ASAP”, according to jalopnik.com. Standard oil should last up to 5000 miles with no problem, and the synthetic should last up to 7000 miles between changes.
- Check for the Automatic Transmission Fluid
If your vehicle has an automatic transmission, consult the vehicles owners manual on how to change the fluid level (in some cars it’s called the “lifetime” fluid). The liquid level should be at the recommendation by the manufacturer, and it should be a bright shade of red. Too much fluid can cause overpressure problems -rough shifting, slippage, and the like – and too little can burn out the torque converter.
If the car is equipped with a manual transmission, checking the fluid level might be difficult, but it’s not impossible. To check it you’ll have to jack the car up, get underneath it, and remove the fill plug, which is usually a bolt or recessed cap in the side of the gearbox housing. On most transmissions, the fluid should meet the bottom of the plug’s hole and Consult your owner’s manual for specifics, and if you need help always ask someone you trust or your mechanic.
- Eyeball the Brake Fluid
Brake fluid is just as crucial for your safety as your tires. If the vehicle is lacking in the fluid department, it can lead to reduced braking performance or, in extreme cases, complete brake failure. Meaning you won’t be able to stop your car at all.
The brake fluid is kept in a translucent stockpile near the base of the car’s windshield, and it should be clear, so it could be easier to see, and at or close to the car’s “full” mark. If the color is dark and grimy, it should be flushed and replaced by someone who knows what they are doing. Handle the brake fluid with caution as it’s incredibly poisonous and because the liquid is hydroscope – it absorbs moisture from the air, and it loses its effectiveness with time – and if it’s opened, don’t use it.
- Check the Brakes
With the change in weather, your brake tends to suffer extreme thermal cycling often. The massive temperature changes due to the high heat of use meeting with freezing water or deep puddles can often make your brake pads suffer extreme thermal cycling. When removing the wheels, it helps with the brake inspections.
If you want to be safe than sorry, remove your brake pads and check them for significant wear and cracking. If not, make sure the edges aren’t crumbling or heavily discolored and that the brake rotors have no significant cracking, either. If you suspect anything, double-check with the mechanic and replace anything worn.
- Check the Battery
The batteries in modern cars consist of lead plates suspended in a water-diluted acid bath. Check the battery religiously to make sure that its fluid level is up and that there’s no visible leakage around the battery’s top. Check the fluid levels and fill to the brim using only distilled water.
- Change the Windshield Wiper Blades
Rubber products need to be replaced as well, so the wiper blades are usually designed to work best in a specific temperature range. Some blades are different for warmer weather. The warm blades are more flexible and efficient but are often less durable- from the winter ones because the winter blades tend to be more resilient during lower temperatures but too soft during high temperatures, which lead to premature failure.
- Fix the Small Things
Accident’s happen like when you hit a snow pile or a hidden curb a little too hard, and the air dam breaks. Or when a piece of door trim breaks in subzero temps when you bump into it and out of nowhere the antenna motor burns out because the mast is frozen in place. While giving the car a check-up, it’s worth the time to bite the bullet and fix these issues, so they don’t keep rising in inconvenient times.
- Get a Car Wash
Nothing beats having a fresh and clean car and getting a car wash gets you one step closer. Everything from the brake lines to the engine can get blasted by a constant barrage of salt, ice, water, sand, and general filth. Do yourself the favor of cleaning up your car from top to bottom and inside and out.
Be sure to clean the wheel well and the underbody as well. Over time, the trunk can accumulate a lot of junk so take time to remove the litter and from under the seats as well. Wash and vacuum the carpets and clean the inside windows, since they have been smudged with fingerprints.
Take time to wash and treat the engine bay properly. It may sound tedious and unnecessary, but it’s easier to diagnose leaks or aging parts when everything is immaculate. It’s the small things that can keep your vehicle looking fresh and clean for the summer.
For any of these used vehicles, or more makes available, visit driverautomart.com or visit 5355 S University Dr. Davie, Florida 33328. It’s open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturdays 9 a.m.-8 p.m. and on Sundays 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Photo Credit: TheNewsWheel.com