Summer has reached and perhaps it’s the time for summer road trip. As you prepare for your trip, don’t forget about your car. Sometimes the trips are interrupted by vehicle collapse, which can be avoided if one takes necessary care of the vehicle before hitting the road. The summers have harsh effect on different parts of the vehicle and sometimes even the slightest problem can cause breakdown of the vehicle. Hence, essential maintenance should to be done as it’ll help in the efficient running of the vehicle and avoid hefty repairs.
So, before you set off for this year’s holiday, just go through the summer car maintenance tips given because the last thing you want on your trip is to have an unexpected car breakdown in the middle of nowhere that spoils all the fun. Even you’re not going for any road trip then also follow the tips as they save money in the long run and prevent any unnecessary interruptions.
- Check the radiator and coolant levels:-
First thing comes first. Your road trip will come to an end if the car overheats. If the engine gets too hot, then moving parts start to melt and blend together that causes serious engine problem and costly repair bill. Check under the hood to make sure that the coolant levels are fine. As per the common rule, one should flush the radiator and add new coolant after every two years. If you haven’t checked that for a long time, then flush the radiator with the new anti-freeze. One should remember that in summer, the ratio of antifreeze to the water should be 1:1.
Check the coolant hoses to make sure that there are no cracks or loose connections which could cause leakage. Leaks, cracks in hoses, loose or broken belts, and not properly secured radiator cap can cause the antifreeze to leak, heat up and breakdown. Also ensure that the radiator’s core is in proper shape. It is not easy to recognize whether the radiator is rotten or not, so it’s better to consult a mechanic. If your vehicle is older, then check both the coolant and the radiator. It is advised to change the coolant if it is rust-colored or muddy pond water.
- Check the tires:-
Another crucial point to consider is to check that the tires have correct pressure and are not damaged. That includes inspection of the spare tire too. If going for a long road trip, then it is better to replace the tires with the new ones if the present ones have certain miles on them. So, before you go, make sure that all the five tires (including the one in the trunk) are properly inflated because if the tires go, you go. Always go with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. Follow the heavy load recommendation if there’s heavy load with you. Just read the manual and know your vehicle.
Along with proper inflation, check the condition of the vehicle tire treads. The minimum acceptable tire tread depth is 4/32’’, but that definitely doesn’t mean that one can go for a trip on that rubber. It is not a sensible decision to replace the tires when they are completely worn out. Replace it as per the requirements of the region. While checking for the tire tread, also check for the uneven wear pattern. And in case your tires require replacement, don’t change them with poor quality ones as the cheap tires deform more at high speed which in turn results in odd wear patterns.
- Change the oil:-
The oil of the car works as blood in the veins. Regular checking and changing of oil not only ensure that the vehicle is working fine, but it also prevents extra repair on the vehicle. Oil keeps all the vehicle parts lubricated to reduce friction and during summer hot engine needs lubrication. Synthetic oil don’t breakdown easily during high temperatures. So, it is better to go with the synthetic oil rather than traditional ones if one is traveling in hot weather. Even though synthetic oils are less expensive than the ordinary ones, but they’re totally worth it.
One can even check the level of the oil by themselves. If the oil color is too black, then it is advised to change it. In case, the level is low, then top it by using the same type of oil. Or to get more detailed information regarding oil change, read the manual or do it on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Many problems related to engine occurs due to lack of oil changes, so if the oil change of your vehicle is due, then do it before the trip.
- Air Conditioning System:-
Accept it, when its scorching out there and you have to drive for hours, the only thing that can help you out in that situation is properly working AC. Make sure that the air conditioner is working fine and if required then get it checked and serviced by experienced mechanic. While checking ensures that on turning the AC, cold air comes out of the vents and the system is fully charged with the refrigerant.
- Check the battery:-
Another thing to consider on before making the trip is to check the condition of the battery. Check for any sort of acid leak, cracks. Make sure that the battery terminals are tight and not corroded as they can cause troubles. There is no exact way to define the lifespan of a battery, but in most cases, if it is older than 4-5 years, then it is beneficial to test the battery before the trip.
- Always keep an emergency kit:-
Last but not the least, always travel with an emergency kit. Always keep the emergency kit, no matter your car is either the new one or old. Your emergency kit should have a torch, high visibility jacket, map, a shovel, first-aid kit, a blanket, and also breakdown cover details.
- Get the brakes, steering, suspension, drivetrain components checked:-
Some of the important items that are often ignored are steering service, brake checked, transmission service. Remember to get your brakes checked at the service station to make sure that the brake pads aren’t worn out and need replacement. Make sure that you’ll also get the suspension system checked for any worn or damaged parts. Also, don’t overlook the transmission service as transmission problems are quite time and money consuming to get fixed. Also get the seat belt inspected to see if it requires replacement as belts are important safety equipment while travelling.
Other usual things to do are engine air filter and fuel system cleaning. Replace the windshield wipers if they are not working properly, i.e. if there is difficulty in seeing the sight. And don’t forget to test the headlamps. Before leaving check the fluid level and tire pressure, make sure all lights and other equipment are working fine. Repair or replace the broken or poor parts to avoid any unwanted situations. And always drive within the speed limits. On a safer side, book an appointment with the mechanic before your trip and get the vehicle checked for any repairs or replacement. While driving one should always take frequent breaks and relax whenever one feels tired as it is important for the person as well as the vehicle. The combo of long road trips, heat and heavy loads can put an enormous amount of burden on the vehicle. So folks, just follow the above given tips and hit the open highway!!