6 Car Maintenance Tips for Smooth Summer Driving
Summer is great. Endless beach trips, music festivals, and ice cream for days. There’s also patio drinking, it’s acceptable to be naked all the time in your apartment, and, let’s not forget, there are road trips.
You know what’s not so great? Neglecting your car during the summer.
We get it. You’re super popular. Everyone wants a piece of you. Your car is the ultimate vehicle for taking long drives along the Sea-to-Sky and jettisoning to Pemberton or the Okanagan for a weekend. Which means you’re spending more time contemplating playlists and A/C, and less on the state of your tires or engine.
Don’t neglect your car. It does so much for you. From transporting you and your friends to festivals and back (all without showering for 5-6 days, we might add), your car is the gateway to all things fun this season. Here are some crucial things to keep an eye on when it comes to your car and summer maintenance.
1. Check Your Tires
Where would you be without those four, beautiful rubber wheels? In the stone age, next to Fred Flintstone, peddling your car (made out of rocks) forward. That’s where. As one of the most overlooked parts on a car, having a tire that is under or overinflated can be dangerous, especially in hot summer weather. Take the time at the gas station to fill them up. An underinflated tire will cause the tire to blow out under enough heat and pressure, while an overinflated tire can lead to hydroplaning on wet surfaces.
2. Change Oil and Oil Filter
Since summer time is when many of us use our vehicles the most, it’s important to check that the engine is running smoothly to ensure that it won’t overheat. No one wants to have engine failure when you’re only ¼ of the way into your Centre of Gravity weekend. Soul crushing. Check your oil before you hit the road. Let your car run for a few minutes, then shut off the engine. Take a look at the oil level and its appearance on your engine’s oil dipstick. The colour of the oil should be a brownish-yellow. If the colour is very dark, or if there is a lot of dirt or grime on the stick, then you’ll want to get an oil change and oil filter replacement, pronto.
3. Change the air filter
Winter can cause more than frost bite and wistful thinking. If your air filter gets clogged with salt and debris from winter driving, you may want to think about changing it during the warmer, summer season. Experts recommend changing it every 12, 000 miles (19, 312 kilometres). It’s also a good idea to change it more often if you do a lot of driving on dirt or gravel roads.
4. Replace Windshield Wipers
If you live in, or are going to travel to, a region prone to sudden and violent rain storms, you’ll be glad to have windshield wipers that actually work. Not to mention, summer road trips bring out literally all the bugs. Wiping that windshield clean and free of squished insect carcasses is going to be a game changer for you. It may be a good idea to replace the whole wiper blade as well, instead of just the rubber portion, if you’ve had a particularly wet winter.
5. Make sure the brakes work
Ah, braking. The most fundamental part to driving, other than, say, driving. It’s crucial that your brakes are in top working condition before you head out on that summer road trip. Watch out for the wearing down or thinning of the brake pad. As well, you should let a specialist take a look if your brakes are soft, or, if they are too hard or resistant to press down on. Take note of any loud and constant noises such as scraping and grinding, or if there are warning lights appearing on your dashboard.
6. Maintain the AC
Especially relevant for hot summer days, losing your car’s AC can be a rough experience, especially on long road trips, especially with friends. No one wants to share a car full of smelly people, no matter how much you love them. So do yourself a favour and double check your A/C is working pre-road trip. Generally, it’s an indication that something is wrong with your car’s AC if it cannot maintain a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius or lower than the outdoors air temperature.