Summer is here, and studies show that 60% of Americans plan road trips during the hot and sunny summer months. With fuel prices low and alternate methods of travel being less economical, people will be taking advantage of our country’s vast infrastructure of highways. Here are some items to have checked and keep an eye on before you head out on the open road.
Your Vehicle’s Cooling System is comprised of numerous parts that work together to keep your engine at an optimal temperature. Your radiator is one of the most important parts to keep your engine cool and running. The radiator core is comprised of little tubes full of engine coolant that is cooled by having airflow over these tubes. This coolant then flows back to your engine, keeping it at a safe operating temperature. If your radiator core is leaking, plugged, or filled with old coolant, it cannot function properly and in turn, keep your engine from overheating. Be sure to have your radiator inspected to ensure proper and efficient operation.
Checking your vehicle’s tires is very important in the summer. Keep an eye on tire pressure and, when needed, add air to obtain the recommended tire. Be sure not to confuse the “recommended” pressure noted on the vehicle with the “maximum” pressure noted on the sidewall. The “recommended” tire pressure is ideal. Overinflating a tire can be dangerous, as when tires heat up the air inside will expand. Additionally, periodically check your spare tire’s air pressure for peace of mind. Your tires' tread is also another important thing to check. Uneven tread wear typically indicates the need for an alignment. Worn tires should be replaced to avoid a flat.
Be sure to stay on top of your vehicle’s oil changes, especially in the summer when your engine needs all the lubrication it can get. When choosing the type of oil you put in your vehicle, follow your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation. Consider an upgrade to full synthetic oil for more confidence, as synthetic oils are less likely to break down at high temperatures, further protecting your engine.
Last but not least, your Air Conditioning system. Your comfort is very important during the hot summer months. If your air is not blowing cold, have your local mechanic inspect your system and make sure that it is fully charged with refrigerant. Also, keep an ear out for any funny noises, and visually inspect belts and hoses for cracks to catch potential issues early.
When parking your car at your usual spot, before pulling in all the way, stop and look for signs of any fluid leaks, spotting, moisture, or discoloration. Other components that are overlooked, wiper blades, lights at all corners of the vehicle, and cabin air filters for air conditioning and air recirculation.