Summer fun is just around the corner, and with it come the inevitable road trips that go with good weather and good friends. Preparing your vehicle for summer excursions is just as important as preparing it for the ravages of winter. There are a number of important steps you should take to ensure that your summer fun isn’t ruined by car trouble, and here they are in convenient, bite-sized format, thanks to Edmunds.
Top 10 tips to summerize your car
- Remove the snow tires. In most parts of the country, studded tires are illegal after a certain date, anyway. Nothing ruins summer fun like a citation from your friendly neighborhood highway patrolman. You should have your regular tires already mounted on a separate set of wheels. You’ll save $40 to $50 per season in mounting and balancing fees that way.
- Check tire pressure. Check your owner’s manual or read the tire sidewall for the recommended PSI. Too little or too much and your MPG will suffer, as will the condition of your tires in the long run. Be sure to check tire pressure when it’s cooler, such as in the morning before work or in the evening.
- Change your oil. If your engine isn’t properly lubricated, heat buildup will cause thermal breakdown. Using a thicker grade of oil like 10W-40 is also recommended for summer driving. If you changed the oil on a vehicle you’re just pulling out of winter storage, it’s probably OK. Check the level to be safe, however. And see if any leaks have developed.
- Check out belts and hoses. If there’s obvious wear and tear and you can’t remember the last time you changed them, this is vital. A snapped serpentine belt will leave you on the side of the road while the Joneses are off in search of the perfect wave.
- Check wipers and wiper fluid. Summer storms happen, and you don’t want to be caught on an unfamiliar road with wipers that don’t work.
- Check the battery. Plug it into a tester if you have one, or do this at your battery shop of choice. This is particularly important if you’re driving a vehicle that has been sitting over the winter. Of course you disconnected the battery before you put the car into storage, right?
- Check the radiator. Summer heat is inseparable from summer fun. Thus, make sure your radiator is full, ideally of a 50:50 coolant/water mix. Antifreeze testers are available to check the mix if you aren’t sure. Oh, do flush the radiator if you haven’t done that in a while.
- Check the brake, transmission and power steering fluids. Keep that car running and keep yourself safe while on the road.
- Prep your emergency kit. Jumper cables, towels, gloves, extra fluids (water included), wrenches, sockets, ratchets, screwdrivers and even extra clothing and food are all good to have around.
- Car won’t start after storage? It could be the fuel filter that’s giving you trouble. Try replacing it and see if that does the trick.
Info from Edmunds.