As the weather gets nicer and the school year winds down, it feels like the open road beckons and that weekends and holidays are perfect for road trips. Before you hit the road, however, take some time to prepare your car for summer driving. These steps can keep you safe and comfortable even when you're sitting in the middle of a hot evening commute.
One: Get Maintenance for Your Cooling System
The most important job of the cooling system in your car is to keep the engine cool, but when outside temperatures rise, the cooling system may struggle. Overheating could cause irreversible damage to your car. Give your radiator and hoses a visual inspection. Check connections and make sure there's enough coolant in the reservoir. Even after your TLC, the engine could still become overheated. If you see the temperature gauge rising on your dashboard, immediately turn on the heat. This pulls hot air away from the engine block. If this doesn't help, pull over and call a professional.
Two: Give the Air Conditioning System Some Attention
One of the last things you want to happen during a hot summer drive is for the air conditioning to go out. While inspecting the cooling system, look for belts that are damaged or worn. Look over the fins of the condenser to be sure they are clean. When the fins are blocked, it's harder for air to get around the condenser, and your car has to work harder to provide comfortable air conditioning.
Three: Inspect the Brakes and Tires
These two systems are vital to safe driving and should get some attention more than once throughout the year. In some areas, the summer months mean a lot of rain. You'll need reliable brakes and decent tread to maintain control of your car. Read through the owner's manual and talk to a mechanic about keeping your brakes in good shape. If you have winter tires on your car, switch to all-season or summer tires. This leads to better fuel efficiency, more speed, and improved handling. Ask your Phoenix auto insurance agent for similar tips.
Four: Test Your Towing Set-Up
A lot of summer recreation calls for a camper or boat, plus a trailer for hauling. It's important to inspect the hookups before you leave for vacation. Read through legal rules regarding towing weight and load distribution. Test the brakes with your trailer attached and make sure the lights are working. Is the hitch holding up securely? Do you have safety chains attached? One great test is to drive down the length of a block and then check to see if what you're pulling has shifted.
Five: Maintain Regular Car Care
While you spend extra time on prepping your car for summer, don't forget to continue changing the oil on schedule and responding to the "check engine" light. Look over your headlights to be sure they aren't too clogged with bugs and debris from driving. There are several easy maintenance tasks you can take to keep your car in great shape. You're probably already doing these; just don't overlook them in the summer.
Summer holds a lot of potential for run and relaxation. With adequate maintenance and necessary improvements, you can enjoy the comfort and reliability of your vehicle.