How Much to Fix It?

Information about auto repair and preventive maintenance

Simple Car Maintenance Tips for Summer Road Trips

summer auto maintenancePacking up the car and hitting the road is on everyone’s calendar right now. Before you hit the road however, it is important to have your local auto repair shop perform a few basic car maintenance items.

Tires

Let’s start with the tires that hit the pavement. Bald, slick tires are hazardous on the road. If your tires are showing signs of wear, and the tread is worn down, it’s time to invest in a new set. Don’t chance a flat, or even worse, and blow-out on the highway.

Your auto technician will also check your tire pressure. The pressure in tires will change with the rising temperatures. Changes in tire pressure can affect fuel economy and the way your car handles on the road.

Engine Belts

Your auto repair shop should also check under the hood. They will begin by looking at the belts in the front of your engine. There are a series of rubber drive belts that loop around various pulleys, driving everything from the alternator to the a/c compressor. Rubber will break down over time, and even more so in extreme conditions, like those found in an operating engine bay in the heat of summer. It’s important to have your timing belt and accessory drive belt checked every 25,000 miles, preferably replacing it every 50,000 miles.

Engine Fluids

While your technician is under the hood of your auto, they will check, and refill/flush the fluids in your vehicle. Your car relies on several major fluids to keep it running smooth. Oil changes are a basic preventative maintenance item that should be performed on a regular basis. The technician will also check the coolant levels, and if low, will fill them to the appropriate levels. Your engine can’t run without engine coolant.

Battery

Another big item to check before a road trip, the battery. Your auto repair shop will check the connections and cables of your car’s battery. It is important to check for loose connections and corrosion with the cables. Also, batteries, can lose their charge in the hot summer months.  The heat of summer can suck the life right out of your battery. Make sure it is checked so you don’t end up stranded on the side of the road.

Electrical System

The electrical system of your car is complex. The good thing about it however, is that you will be notified with all sorts of “warning” lights if something is wrong. Your auto mechanic will be able to find the problem and fix it quickly even though there are thousands of electrical systems in your car.

Every new car now comes with OBD-II – On Board Diagnostics 2. This is a fault-registering system connected to sensors all over the car, including the engine, fuel and emissions system. When the check engine light comes on, it can mean many different things. There is something like 4,000 unique OBD2 codes that can be stored. Handheld OBD2 diagnostic tools can be plugged in to the OBD2 port which is normally under the dash on the driver’s side. These tools can read out the fault code and/or reset the system to contain no codes.

Wipers

Last, but not least, don’t neglect your wipers! You never know when you might drive into a nice summer thunderstorm. Take care of your car and be safe on the road.

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