Ahhh summertime. We wait for it all year, with its sunshine, warm temperatures, and road trips to the mountains or the beach. We have every reason to look forward to it. But as you’re anticipating all the places you’ll go, don’t forget to give your car some love. After all, it’ll need to get you from A to B all summer long, and the hot temperatures aren’t exactly great for it. Let’s take a look at how you can get your wheels ready for summer fun.
1. Check the Oil
Every 3 months or so is what most recommend for oil changes. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check it more frequently. Pull the dipstick and look at both the level and the color. If it still has that nice amber color and meets the recommended fill line, you’re good to go. If it’s the right color but looks low, it’s ready for a top-off. If it looks black and gross, it’s definitely time for a change ASAP.
2. Check the AC
You’re going to need your air conditioning to be in tip-top shape for months of hot weather driving. Make sure it blows cold air within a few minutes, and isn’t giving you any funky noises or smells. If it is, get it serviced ASAP.
3. Know Your Tires
If you had winter tires on your car, it’s time to take them off and put your regular ones back on. Also, check your tires for proper inflation (there is usually a sticker inside your door frame that tells you what the pressure should be). It’s also probably a good time to have your tires rotated by a professional, who can give them a good look to make sure they aren’t too worn. Keep an eye on them regularly though — they’ll take a lot of abuse in the summer heat. Also, don’t forget to ensure you spare is inflated and ready for an emergency!
4. Get Your Fill
While you’re out getting your fill of fun, don’t forget to give your car its fill of wiper fluid. The last thing you want is to have a bird or bug splatter right in your line of sight during a road trip, and not be able to clean it off without looking for a gas station.
5. Gimme a Break
Your brakes are probably the most important safety feature on your car. The change of seasons is a good time to remind yourself to get them checked. Make sure you’re good on brake fluid, and that your pads or rotors aren’t worn or warped. Brake pads are especially susceptible to damage and extra wear in high temperatures.
6. Wash & Wax
Your car’s paint can really take a beating from the hot sun, especially if you have to park outside for much of the day. Giving it a good cleaning and a nice coat of wax can help protect the finish from fading and chipping. The wash will also help rid the paint of any salt that may have built up during winter driving.
7. Change Your Wiper Blades
Wiper blades get a ton of wear and tear over the winter, but you’ll definitely need them sometime over the summer as well. Make sure yours will be ready to give your windshield an even, smudge-free cleaning on-the-go by changing them out when the weather warms up.
8. Don’t Ignore the Floor
Your floor mats are there to protect your car’s floor from wet, mucky weather. This means that spring and summer are the perfect time to give them a good cleaning or replace them with a new set — so they can keep doing their job.
9. Swap Emergency Kits
Hopefully you have a roadside emergency kit in your car (if you don’t, please get one!). When the seasons change, it’s a good idea to check your kit to make sure it’s weather-appropriate for the likely conditions.
10. Check All Fluids
Aside from the oil, your car needs other fluids to keep it running well. Transmission fluid, coolants, brake fluid (see # 5) and power steering fluids should also be checked for proper levels. They may even need to be flushed and changed. And while you’re at it, make sure your battery has a good charge left, since winter’s cold weather has probably taken its toll.