Summer is the perfect time to make memories on the road. Whether you want to party at an outdoor concert, trek the Adirondacks or swim at the beach, the hot weather and the clear skies will make sure that you have a good time.
But the good memories will quickly turn sour if you encounter problems while driving to your destination. Here’s our Summer car guide. Prepare your car for summer.
Do a quick inspection
A day before your road trip, walk around your car to do a visual inspection. Check for any dents, scratches or discoloration on your car’s body and paint. You can also look at the bottom of the car to see if there’s anything srange strange that’s hanging out from the chassis. Try going on a short drive too, just to feel if the driving is still smooth.
Check your car battery
Car experts believe that your car’s battery has a shorter life in the summer, because extreme heat speeds up the chemical reactions inside the battery. This depletes the battery’s charge and causes the metal components to corrode, killing your battery.
A dead battery means your car won’t start easily, and that might leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Avoid this nightmare scenario by periodically getting the voltage of the battery. You can use a simple voltmeter or a power probe to check. if the reading is between 12.4 and 12.7 volts, then the battery is still healthy.
Change your tires
One thing that new drivers may not know is that there are different tires for winter and summer driving. In the winter, you should be using cold weather tires that are softer and have better grip on snow and wet surfaces. Summer tires are harder because they need provide sufficient grip even on heated highways. Make sure that you have the correct set of tires before getting on the road.
Inspect your AC and coolant
Sure, driving in a car packed with your friends while singing along to your favorite songs is pure fun. But try that in a hot car during summer and it suddenly becomes unpleasant. Not even your favorite tunes can save it.
Make sure your car can stay cool by checking if your car’s coolant is still sufficient. Open the cap on the radiator to see if the coolant liquid still reaches the Full line. You should also do a visual inspection to see if the liquid is still consistent. If it has a bad, spotty color, or if there are things floating in the liquid, you have to drain the coolant and pour in a new one.
Change your wipers
Winter is the harshest season for your wiper blades, because they spend months clearing ice and other harsh elements away from your windshield. You have to inspect your wipers before summer comes; lift it and check if the bottom edge is still straight and is not cracked. If it is, replace it immediately.
Check the wiper fluid
This is frustrating: thick sand gets stuck on your windshield while you’re zipping along at an insanely high speed, so you reach for the wiper lever to spray it with washer fluid. Then: nothing. No matter how much you pull on the lever, no liquid gets sprayed on your now zero-visibility windshield, so you have no choice but to slow down, stop on the side of the expressway and clean your own window. Pity.
Avoid this scenario by making sure that your wiper fluid is always in the safe levels. Pop open your car’s hood, find the fluid reservoir to inspect it, and pour your chosen liquid into it if needed. You don’t need to buy this, by the way. You can make your own by mixing distilled one gallon of water, a tablespoon of dish soap and half a cup of ammonia.
The engine oil might need changing too
Don’t close the hood yet. While you’re holding it open, go on and check the engine oil. Find your car’s dipstick and pull it out. It’s end should be covered in oil. Get a clean rag and wipe the oil off.
Then carefully insert the dipstick back, and slowly pull it back. Check at what point the oil reaches. The dipstick should have a marker that tells you if it is at safe levels, or if you need to add more.
You should also check for the oil’s quality. There might be something wrong with the engine if you can see some metal deposits or chunks of white fluid on the dipstick. If so, take the car to a professional immediately.
Do not forget your emergency supplies
Lastly, you need to make sure that your emergency kit is complete. Experts say that the following are necessary to stock up on:
- first-aid kit: this should contain several band-aids, adhesive tapes, rolls of gauze, cotton, rubbing alcohol and several medications like aspirin and pain relievers.
- fire extinguisher: purchase one that is lightweight, compact, durable and can easily be serviced by the nearest fire services company.
- reflective warning devices: you need at least three triangular warning devices that you can place behind your car to warn upcoming vehicles at night that you’re pulled up on the side of the road.
- flashlight and extra batteries: this is simple but essential. Make sure that the flashlight is bright and the light can reach long distances. It should also be waterproof.
- a tire gauge: use this regularly so you can avoid an underinflated tire.
- you also need the following: jumper cables, duct tape, gloves, rags, a wrench, screwdrivers, foam tire sealant, a rain poncho, a sturdy rope, a snow shovel, and a gallon of clean water.
- You might also want to bring a power bank and a charging cable for your phone, so that you can charge it in an emergency.
The key to a fun trip is to prevent any problems before they appear on the horizon. So wherever you want to go this summer, be sure that you take our words of caution so that your car is 100% summer-proof.