Summer travel through scorching temperatures means preparations. Routine car maintenance is essential to ensure that your vehicle remains in good working order. With 90% of Americans having done at least one road trip since 2020 shows that people are ready to hit the road.
Here’s what you need to do to prepare your car for traveling across the country this summer.
Check all four tires
The first step in checking all four tires is to make sure they are in good working order. Although you should do this every time you take your car out of the garage, it’s very important before a long trip.
Examine each tire for any signs of nicks, cuts or bulges. It’s easy to spot punctures caused by small objects on the road and not notice them for days.
Bald tires are another issue as it is a safety issue. When the treads wear out, you lose grip. A sudden summer downpour could easily lead to an accident if your tires aren’t gripping the road properly.
A simple trick to checking your tires is to stick a quarter of them in the treads. If you can still see George Washington’s head, you need a new tire.
Assuming your tires are ready for the trip, check the tire pressure. Do this after your car has idled and the tires have cooled completely. Refer to your owner’s manual for information on the recommended tire pressure for your car.
Ensuring the pressure is correct is a cost-effective way to optimize your vehicle’s mileage.
Examine the brakes
Anything can happen in the middle of a long road trip. Your brakes must be in perfect condition. If you hear squealing noises or feel vibrations when using your brakes, you need to take your car to a mechanic for further inspection. A technician will be able to examine the vehicle for any leaks.
Consider when the last time you replaced your brake pads. The average set of brake pads are rated to last approximately 20,000 miles.
Generally, it’s always good to approach a mechanic for an inspection a few times a year anyway.
Open your battery
The car battery powers everything electronics in your vehicle. A bad battery in the middle of a long drive means you’ll be stuck without most of your car’s functions.
Take your car to a mechanic. Your local garage will be able to check your battery levels. Most batteries are equipped to last an average of 50,000 miles, so if you can’t remember the last time you replaced your battery, it may need to be replaced.
Be aware that if you already have some vehicle knowledge, you can access the battery yourself to make sure it stays secure and the connections stay tight.
Apply window tint to your vehicle
Tinted windows are not just there to improve the aesthetics of your vehicle. The tint reduces the car’s internal temperatures, ensuring a more comfortable ride.
Approach a garage to tinted windows in Tarrant County, TXand get the tint that will give you better summer driving and is legal.
You can buy your own home dye kit online, but many of these dye kits are illegal. Federal regulations have strict limits on the amount of tint you can tint your windows. If caught, you can be heavily fined.
As a general rule, you should be visible through your windows.
Track your fluids
Your car relies on a careful balance of fluids to operate at its maximum capacity. Engine oil provides lubrication and reduces the amount of heat caused by friction. Coolants keep your car from overheating, and you also need to consider power steering and transmission fluids.
You can check fluid levels in your vehicle at home in minutes. Refer to the owner’s manual for more information on proper levels, including how to check each fluid.
Alternatively, you can take the car to a mechanic and have them fill it up with fluid as needed.
Replace your windshield wipers
Your windshield wipers are actually blades used to clear water and debris from your field of vision. A pair of high quality windshield wipers will never leave streaks and clean your windshield thoroughly. Spray some water on your windshield and turn them on.
Streaks and shoddy cleaning mean you need a new pair of wipers. Luckily, this is something you can replace yourself without visiting a mechanic.
Keep in mind that your windshield wipers also use liquid. Windshield washer fluid removes mud, dirt and snow. The nozzles should properly spray your washer fluid while still having enough capacity.
Get a new air conditioning filter
Air conditioning is crucial on a hot summer day. Avoid sticking to the seat by getting a new air conditioning filter. If your air conditioning isn’t cooling your car or you notice restricted flow, it’s usually a problem with the filter.
These filters only cost a few dollars to purchase and can be added by a mechanic or at home. Again, your owner’s manual will tell you how to access and replace an old filter.
Avoid worn belts and hoses
Reinforced rubber drive belts found in your car’s engine block power the engine’s water pump and your air conditioning compressor and alternator. Perform a visual inspection of these belts for any signs of cracking, fraying or glazing. These belts can snap without warning, but the first warning signs are there.
Do the same check for the radiator hoses. If they appear worn, soft, or become brittle, they should be replaced.
These are the checks you should carry out before any road trip. High temperatures put a lot of stress on you and your car. The last thing you want is to find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting for a tow truck.
Take the time to go over your car and check for any issues. Most standard car problems have warning signs to be aware of. Act on these warning signs and enjoy a great summer road trip.