How to Prep Your Car for Summer Trips

Whether you have a modern-day smart car or an old fixer upper, your vehicle does so much for you. Dashboard notifications inform you of when your oil is low, your engine needs checked, or your tires need rotated. Phone notifications tell you when your AC refrigerant levels are nearing empty or when it’s time to inflate you tires. However, despite all that your vehicle does on your behalf, there are still issues you need to be mindful of on your own. Many of those issues arise when the seasons change, and when the temperatures go from one extreme to the next.

During the winter, you know to winterize your vehicle, but do you know that you’re supposed to do the same in the summer? The high temperatures may cause your vehicle to work harder than it has to, which can put a strain your vehicle’s system. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent your car from overheating and to ensure it performs efficiently all summer long.

Check the Oil

If your engine oil is low or bad, you may unwittingly cause your engine to burn up. Fortunately, checking and changing the oil is easy. To check it, pull out your car’s dipstick. The stick will inform you of both the quality of the oil in the engine oil delivery and the level. If the oil is a nice shade of amber and is up to the fill mark, you’re good to go. However, if it’s amber but below the fill mark, you need to top it off with some store-bought solution. If the oil is thick and black, you need to get an oil change right away. You can typically drive between 4,000 and 5,000 miles with regular oil and up to 7,000 miles with synthetic.

Change the Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are put to the test during long, cold winters, as they’re forced to wipe away heavy rain, snow and ice. However, just because the snow has melted and temperatures soar to well above 80 degrees doesn’t mean you can let your wipers rest for the season. Summer storms bring torrential rains, so it’s imperative that you have working blades for monsoon season. If you notice streaks or smudges after each swipe, wiper blade replacement is a must.

Check the Tire Pressure

Tire pressure goes up and down with the temperature, which can drastically change overnight. If your tire pressure is too high, you risk a blowout. If it’s too low, you risk a blowout. Moreover, uneven tire pressure can reduce the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, cause your tires to wear unevenly and/or mess with the way your vehicle handles and grips the road.

Keep an Eye on Your Radiator

To ensure your car doesn’t overheat as the temperatures rise, you need to make sure your radiator has plenty of coolant. You can check the coolant levels when you check the engine levels, but your temperature gauge should also inform you of when your radiator is low. If your vehicle begins to run too hot, the temperature gauge will climb into the red. This is usually a sign that your coolant levels are low or that there’s a crack in your radiator.

These are all maintenance measures you can perform on your own, but you need the right tools. Shop online for all the tools, equipment and solutions you need to keep your vehicle running strong all summer long.