Summer is almost here, and it is time to ensure your car is ready to handle the Texas heat. High temperatures can take a toll on a car, especially when driving long distances. So before taking a road trip, ensure your car is serviced and ready to take on this grand adventure. After all, you do not want your journey to get canceled prematurely, especially over something as unfortunate as a broken-down car. Below are a few summer car maintenance tips to help your car survive this summer!
#1 Test the AC
Summers in Texas are HOT, and that is an understatement. With temperatures over 100 degrees, it is necessary to have air conditioning.
Before traveling long distances or in bad traffic conditions, be sure to test your car’s AC. If it is not working properly, you have a couple of options. You can take it to a mechanic or fix it yourself. Mechanics are especially helpful when it comes to extensive problems. But, if you are comfortable working with vehicles and want to save money, doing it yourself may be the best option.
AutoZone lists three common car AC problems to help designate why a car’s AC system may malfunction. Once assessing the problem is complete, the next step is to buy the materials and fix it. Some AC problems are relatively easy to fix and inexpensive. Whereas more extensive problems can cost several thousand dollars to repair. If the problem is substantial, I recommend getting professional help to prevent further damage.
#2 Check the Fluid Levels
One of the most important things to prevent your car from overheating is to check the coolant levels. Coolant helps prevent the radiator in a vehicle from overheating during the summer. Check your car’s manual to determine how often you should inspect your coolant levels. If you do not know what coolant to use, you can often determine the type by color or by reading the owner’s manual.
Other fluid levels that are important to check are windshield wiper fluid and oil levels. Windshield wiper fluid comes in handy when there is a lot of dust and dirt flying around. It is imperative to have when traveling on long trips since you never know what conditions to expect. The best part is that windshield wiper fluid is cheap and easy to find. AutoZone and Walmart are two of many stores that keep this product in stock.
As for oil, it is necessary to keep up-to-date on oil changes. Typically, an oil-pressure car warning light will turn on if oil levels are low, indicating it is time for an oil change. The frequency of how often one should change the oil depends on several factors. A few of these include the car’s age, make, and driver’s driving habits. Typically, AAA Automotive recommends changing the oil around 3,000 miles for older cars. Whereas, with newer vehicles, they recommend every 7,500-10,000 miles.
#3 Inspect the Tires
Tires are expensive, yet some people still forget the importance of checking them. Tires must be at the right pressure level specified in the car’s owner’s manual. Too low tire pressure can lead to tire wear, decreased gas mileage, and a blowout. Whereas too much pressure can lead to reduced traction. So before going on any road trip this summer, check your tires and help prevent an accident.
If the tires are below the recommended PSI, you can take them to a gas station and fill them with air. Some gas stations allow individuals to do this for free, like QuikTrip. While others may charge a small fee. If putting air in the tire does not do the trick, a nail or piece of debris could be stuck in the tire. Typically, a repair shop can patch the hole for cheap and sometimes for free (depending on where you bought the tire). If you overfill your tires, the fix is easy— take the cap off the valve stem on your tire and release some air.
Besides the tire pressure, be sure to check the tread of your tires. Bald tires reduce the amount of traction and are more easily pierced. Meaning that it is more likely that a car will hydroplane or experience a blowout on the roadway. Using the penny test is an easy way to determine if tires have low tread and need to be replaced. Place a penny in the groove of the tire tread upside down. If the whole head of the penny is showing, then it is recommended that you change your tires.
#4 Pack an Emergency Car Kit
It is best to prepare in case the inevitable happens. So before traveling, pack a bag full of the essentials. Here is a list of items you should include in your car emergency kit this summer:
- Jumper Cables
- Spare Tire or Fix-A-Flat Tire Sealant
- Tire Jack
- First Aid Kit
- Tool Kit
- Road Map
- Water Bottles and Snacks
These items should provide you with enough assistance until help arrives. Be safe and ready for any challenge. The last thing anyone wants to do is get stranded in the Texas heat.
Summertime is the perfect time to take road trips with loved ones. So be sure to make your trip memorable by having your car in working order. These summer car maintenance tips are a few helpful tips to prevent breakdowns. While these tips are crucial in the summer, it is essential to take care of your car year-round. This will ensure your car has a long life and will save you money in the long run.