Get Your Car As Ready For Summer As You Are
Every fall a million instructions for getting your car ready for winter burst onto the internet. But what about getting your car ready for summer? We’re actually far more likely to spend time in our car in summer as we go on day trips to enjoy the beautiful weather, and road trips to get away from things. Which means that getting the car ready for summer is every bit as important as getting it ready for winter, so why is it so overlooked?
The immediate dangers aren’t so acute – you’re not so likely to lose control of your vehicle on black ice, or plow bumper-first into a snow drift. And if you break down you’re far less likely to freeze to death, but there are still risks associated with driving long distances, especially in hot weather. With barbecues, road trips, beach vacations, and ice cream on the horizon, here’s how to get your car as ready for summer as you are.
Give it a good scrub
First things first, you’re going to want to make the outside of your car as sparkly and beautiful as you can. This isn’t just so you can feel proud when you see your car in the lot, but it can help to protect your car from the weather, and make the car last longer. Salt used in grit on winter roads can play havoc with the body of the car, and even cause patches to rust. You’ll want to remove any residue as soon as winter is over, and preferably before the sun gets too hot. Be sure to get the hose on the wheels and the underbody to get the salt and grit out from there too – it’ll make your car last a whole lot longer, and it’ll help to avoid any problems in the future too.
It’ll also significantly help with visibility. In winter visibility is impeded by rain, snow, and fog, but in summer it can be more difficult to avoid. The sun’s glare and the heat mirage it causes on the road can be amplified by a dusty windshield, making it more difficult to see the road ahead and oncoming traffic. Keeping your windshield clean in the summer could help you avoid a serious accident.
Polish the inside
It isn’t just the outside of your car that gets a bit battered by the winter. When the weather is cold, you’re far less likely to spend the extra couple of minutes picking up trash before you head inside to the warm. Use spring and early summer to give the inside of your car a really good clean. Vacuum the seats and the rugs, throw out any trash, polish the insides of the windows and the dashboard, and anything else covered in grubby fingerprints. It’s even worth giving everything under the hood a bit of a clean. It’s far easy to diagnose any leaks or breakages if it’s all in good condition.
Give it a fluid check
Check your oil, your brake fluid, your coolant, and don’t forget power steering fluid too. All of these things will gradually get lower with time, and letting them sink below the recommended level could cause a breakdown or even an accident. While you’re giving your car a once over, quickly checking these fluid levels could save you an awful lot of time and money further down the line. These checks should be made at least once a year, but once before winter and once before summer is optimal.
Take a look at your brakes
Even if you’re not particularly comfortable with the inner workings of a car, it’s still a good idea to give the brake pads a quick quality check. It’s easier if you can remove the tire, but if you’re not comfortable with doing this, just check around the edge of the brake pad for any signs of fraying or wear – if you see something which concerns you, it’s worth spending a little bit of money to have a mechanic fix it, rather than experience the potential alternative. Winter can be a really tough time on your brakes due to the grit and the temperature variation, so don’t delay getting them checked.
Give the tires a quality check
If you live in a state which requires different sets of tires for summer and winter, now is about the time to change them. Whether you’re changing them or not, it’s also essential to give them a quick quality check now too. Firstly, you’re going to want to check their air pressure, as this can start to dip naturally. Then, you can top it up as you see fit, either with a foot pump or a portable air compressor. If you’re choosing the best portable air compressor, be sure to choose one with changeable nozzles, as this makes the process much easier. You might also find it useful for cleaning your car, as a stream of high-pressure air can be great for getting dirt out of little nooks and crannies.
One you have the pressure right, check the wear on the tires too. If the tread is too worn it can affect grip – you might think that this isn’t a problem on dry summer roads, but you’re just as likely to skid on surface water. Tires which are worn thin are also at increased risk of a blowout, which at best would be an inconvenience, and at worst could cause a terrible accident. The risk of a blowout is heightened on hot asphalt, so this is a good time to ensure the wear on the tires is minimal.
Give the battery a look over
Finally, give the battery a once over. Look for signs of burning, wear, or singeing. Give it a check to ensure the fluid level is high enough, and to ensure there is no visible leakage or discharge which could cause the battery to break. If your car uses a sealed battery, you can obviously skip this step.
Once you’ve followed these stages, your car will be just as ready for your amazing summer adventures as you are.