Summertime means long road trips with friends and family and relaxing vacations to escape your worries. By getting your car ready before you leave, you can avoid any stressful situations that may arise. Simple, routine car maintenance is often overlooked in the planning process, but what may seem minuscule now can cause bigger problems in the long run. The auto repair experts at McDowells Specialty Repairs put together a list of some commonly forgotten maintenance steps to help you better prepare before your trip!
Remove Winter Tires
Winter tires are important for driving in the snow, but when they are used on the dry pavement they get worn down very quickly. Switching to your summer or all-season tires may help save you money because you won’t need to buy new winter tires as often. If you know how to change a tire, then you can switch them at home. If you need assistance, your local auto body shop will gladly help you. Remember to check the tire pressure before you head off on your trip to avoid needing to pump them up during your vacation!
Examine Windshield Wipers & Fluids
You never know when you are going to run into a summer rain shower, so replacing your windshield wipers is a great thing to do before the summer. After the winter we had in the Treasure Valley, your wiper blades are likely a little worn down and less effective at clearing your windshield. Not only should you replace the blades, but you should also make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid! Dirt, bugs, and bird droppings can cause visibility problems if you aren’t able to completely remove them from your windshield. Replacing your blades and refilling the washer fluid early in the summer should last for any trips you have planned all summer long!
Check Your Coolant Levels
Idaho’s summer heat can be detrimental to your car’s engine if you do not replenish the coolant reservoir. Car coolant, commonly known as antifreeze, will keep your car’s engine from overheating on long road trips. Inspecting the reservoir’s condition and levels is an essential step in routine maintenance to preventing future damage. If the coolant is cloudy when you do your routine scan, then there may be an issue with your head gasket. If this happens to you, it is recommended that you take your car to a mechanic to address the bigger problem. If it is clear but the level is low, then topping it off should suffice for your trip!
Testing Your A/C
Nobody wants to sit in an overly-hot car for hours on end during a road trip. If you take your car for a drive and notice that the air conditioner is not getting as cold as you would like, you may need to refill the refrigerant! You can go to your local auto store and pick up some refrigerant to do it yourself, and the rest of the steps for this can usually be found on the container. Alternatively, here is an online instruction guide to help you through the process! If you’ve already tried refilling the refrigerant and your vents still aren’t blowing cold air, you may have a larger problem that is best to have looked at by a professional.
Tinting Your Windows
Tinted windows do a surprisingly good job of keeping the summer heat from getting into your car, depending on how dark the tint is. While it is not a complete solution to the hot car problem, window tint film blocks a significant amount of the UV rays given off by the sun. This means that it will help you avoid sun damage to your car’s interior, protect your skin while driving, and keep the car a little cooler. At McDowells, we are well-versed in professional window tinting and offer a variety of tint options so you can choose the best fit for you!
Performing routine checkups of your car, especially after the chilly Idaho winter, can help you avoid costly damage as the weather begins to warm up. This way, you won’t have to worry about car issues putting a dent in your summer vacation plans! If you have any questions about car maintenance best practices, don’t hesitate to call McDowells Specialty Repairs!