Tips to Get Your Car Ready for Summer

Automotive, Home & Family
on May 13, 2007

Whether on a family vacation or a long Sunday drive, your car will get a workout during the upcoming summer months. Here are some tips to keep your vehicle cruising down the highway as the temperature rises.

Overheating is a major cause of summer breakdowns. As a preventive measure, make sure your cooling system is completely flushed and refilled every two years. Also remember to check the level, condition and concentration of the car’s coolant regularly. At the very least, have your radiator fluid professionally tested, says John Paul, known as AAA’s “Car Doctor.”

“Don’t forget to make sure your oil is in good condition,” Paul adds. “That will help prevent overheating as well.”

Hydroplaning is more common during the summer, when sudden rainstorms can surprise motorists. “To avoid hydroplaning, it’s essential to keep your tires in good shape,” says Paul, who recommends checking tires regularly for signs of wear by using the “penny method.”

If a tire has sufficient tread, the grooves should be deep enough to touch the top of Lincoln’s head when a penny is inserted “head first.” Also check tire pressure before long trips to ensure that the tires are properly inflated, and don’t forget to check your spare.

Paul provides some other suggestions to prepare your car for summer:

  • If your air-conditioning system hasn’t been checked in several years, take your vehicle to an expert who can check the refrigerant charge, and the compressor belt and compressor clutch.
  • Make sure the engine is cool, then look for cracked or worn belts and check hoses for damage or softness. Replace if necessary.
  • If the radiator pressure cap shows signs of wear, replace it.
  • Check your windshield for chips or cracks, and replace the wiper blades if worn.

Following these tips should keep you and your vehicle rolling through the hottest days of the year.