Is Your Vehicle Ready For Summer?
Summer’s heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance… Your vehicle will last longer and command a higher resale price, too!
- Air Conditioning– A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Make sure your air conditioning system is operating at its optimal efficiency.
- Oil – Change your oil and oil filter every 3 months or every 3,000 miles especially if you make frequent short jaunts, make frequent stops, or take extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
- Engine Performance – Replace your filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended-more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drivability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected ASAP before further damage occurs.
- Brakes – Brakes should be inspected yearly, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
- Battery – Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly.
- Cooling System – The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
- Windshield Wipers – A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace your blades every year and make sure your windshield washer solvent is full.
- Lights – Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
- Tires –Have your tires rotated every 6,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they’re cold before driving for any distance. Don’t forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks.
- Emergencies- Carry some basic tools-ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight.