Summer is here! We know you must be as excited as we are. If you’re like most people, then you probably have some road trips and exciting travel in your future. But will you be able to rely on your vehicle to get you there safely and easily? Knowing how to prepare your vehicle for the demands of summer – additional miles, high temperatures and so on – can help reduce your risk of a breakdown or anything else that could hinder your plans. Here is a list of checks to make before you hit the road.
1. Get an oil change. This simple service typically comes with some important and free checks of tires, fluids and so on which we’ll get to below. The other option is to get an oil change at your destination before you head home. Check what your interval schedule states and compare that against your current mileage.
2. Check your engine and cooling system. Your cooling system has an important job – to keep your engine from overheating. In addition, additives in the coolant protect the radiator and internal engine components against wear and corrosion. Without proper cooling system maintenance, the odds of long term engine damage, and a summer time boil over, definitely increase. Older engine coolant can become dirty and contaminated, more likely to lead to problems that could put a damper on your plans for driving.
3. Have your tires checked. Driving on under-inflated tires not only affects the handling and braking of a vehicle, it also can cause tires to overheat and increase the likelihood of a blowout. This problem becomes even more of a concern when road temperatures are extremely high. When is the last time you checked your own tire pressure? More than half of vehicles on the road were found to have at least one under-inflated tire, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, and 85 percent of motorists do not know how to properly inflate their tires! Good Works Auto Repair offers a variety of tire services to ensure that when your rubber meets the ground, you’ll be safer and ready to go. Don’t forget to ask them to check the spare tire, too!
4. Check your vehicle’s fluids. Your vehicle utilizes many different types of fluids – windshield washer, brake, power steering, motor oil, transmission to name a few. All of these do a job to keep your car running smoothly so be sure to have a repair technician top them off or check the levels. Brake fluid is extremely important to have checked before you hit the road. Degradation of that fluid can lead to reduced braking performance or, in extreme cases, complete brake failure.
5. Check your car’s air conditioning system. A cool passenger is a happy passenger, especially during extra-long road trips in the summer heat. Maintaining a comfortable driving environment also reduces fatigue, which can play an important part in driver alertness and vehicle safety. A/C filters could also benefit from being checked so that they properly filter debris which could enter your vehicle cabin.
6. Be prepared for something to go wrong anyways. A summer emergency kit should include things like water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit. For summer weather, we also recommend including a reflective emergency blanket, sunscreen, a hat, a phone charger, a clear plastic bin, tire pressure gauge, duct tape, rags, gloves, and even a tow strap.
Good Works Auto Repair is ready for you and car. We love a good road trip – we know you do too! Don’t let your vehicle shut down your summer plans. Give the shop a call today to schedule your appointment!