Preparing your Car for a Summer Road Trip
Summer is approaching, and so is that road trip you have been planning since the start of the year. But, is your car geared up for a long road trip?
We all know that heat can be just as brutal on a car as winter road conditions and that your car conking out in the middle of a summer road trip is a nightmare. Make sure your vehicle is ready for a long road trip with these tips.
- Check your brakes
Thermal cycling affects brake pads more than anything in your car. Most of the damage happens in the winter, but car owners won’t feel it until the warmer months set in. Going into the summer with faulty brakes is a mistake you don’t want to make. Whether it is the rotors, the edges, or the brake boosters that are going bad, any kind of damage on the brakes is deadly, especially if you are planning a long drive.
For the technically knowledgeable, consider removing and checking your brake pads for significant cracking and wear. If you notice anything suspect, talk to your mechanic about it.
- Repair your windshield.
If there are any cracks on your car’s windshield, have them repaired before summer. Prolonged exposure to heat, pressure changes, and vibrations can cause the cracks to spread dramatically or even break, ruining your holiday.
Get an expert to inspect and repair or replace your automotive glass as soon as it sustains damage. And while you are at it, ask for an inspection on other parts such as the brakes and wheels.
- Change your oil.
You probably didn’t know that high temperatures call for higher oil viscosity. New cars may run impeccably well with the same moderate viscosity oil all year long, but older vehicles with significant engine wear may require heavier oil in the summer.
That said, some cars are designed to use specific oil types. Ensure you read the manufacturer’s oil specifications before making any changes.
- Check your power steering fluid levels.
The level and condition of power steering fluid don’t get much attention during general servicing. Contaminated fluid can clog the sterling system, wear down fittings, increase friction, or cause some components, such as the pump, to fail. A very precise level of fluid needs to be maintained for the power steering system to work correctly. If the fluid is too much, the seals and valves could collapse. Not enough fluid, and there won’t be enough force to turn the car.
Most manufacturers provide the specifics of checking steering fluid levels in the owner’s manual. If your car’s fluid is below the recommended level, fill it to the brim. If it has a dark brown hue, it means the fluid is dirty, and the whole steering system needs flushing and refilling.
Detailing your car and working on the aesthetic front during summer is important. However, there are other equally important or even more significant aspects you need to look at to avoid ending your road trip prematurely. Consider checking with a mechanic for full inspection if your car has gone for long without full servicing.