Summer Prep Made Easy
Here is a summer-specific list of preparations to complete before heading out on an expedition this summer - whether to the store or to the mountains. Small issues you may want to ignore can lead to more significant and expensive problems if left unchecked.
Test Your A/C
We recommend having someone service your A/C to make sure your compressor is functioning properly, and the coolant isn’t low. You can check the air conditioner by listening to the compressor while the A/C is on and off to notice if there are any mysterious noises. Additionally, have a professional check the cabin air filters and, if dirty or clogged, replace them. These filters trap all sorts of debris and germs before they can reach your dashboard vents. Breathing polluted air from bad filters can cause headaches, allergic reactions, and breathing issues. If you notice a musty, unpleasant odor in your car, it could be the filters.
Switch Out Your Winter Tires
Winter tires are great for cold weather because their treads are softer and more flexible in order to provide the right amount of traction through snow and slippery conditions. Those same treads will begin to wear quickly when they come into contact with the hot pavement which can become a safety issue fast.
Get Your Summer Emergency Kit Ready
No matter the season, be sure to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. Your kit should contain essential items such as water, blankets, non-perishable snacks (such as protein bars and comforting treats for kids), extra clothing for cold and wet weather, a first aid kit, work gloves, and a flashlight. Summer additions can include extra water, sports drinks, a spare smartphone charger, and sunscreen. It’s also a great idea to sign up for a roadside assistance program; they offer help and gas in emergencies at a reasonable cost.
Check Your Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers should quietly clean the entirety of the windshield without leaving gaps or streaks. Windshield wipers have a limited life span and should be replaced every six months to a year — or sooner if you notice a decrease in visibility while using them. This is usually the result of older or damaged blades no longer making proper contact with the windshield, causing them to squeak, vibrate, smear, or streak. Bad blades can reduce visibility and create a considerable safety hazard during inclement summer weather.
Listen to Your Brakes
Listen while driving for any screeching, grinding, or delay when you hit the brakes. If you feel or hear anything, get them checked out by a professional immediately. It’s also a good idea to have your brakes serviced to check that your pads, rotors, and calibers are in good working order.
Examine Your Tires
Tires may need to be rotated or replaced. This is especially important if you have taken a couple of extended road trips over the past year or have a long daily commute. Also, don’t rely on your car to let you know when your air pressure is low. Sometimes in hot weather, your tires can be overinflated, which is also a safety hazard — and there’s no warning light when that occurs. Have a pressure gauge on hand to check your pressure each month or during sudden temperature fluctuations. If you’re unsure about what level your specific tires should be at, check the inside of your driver’s side door or your owner’s manual.
Fluids Make for a Smooth Ride
Although many shops top up the fluids during your routine oil changes, there are some, such as brake fluid or even your fuel tank, that could use a flush to work more efficiently.
Be Aware of Any Recalls
If you haven’t yet, check your vehicle’s VIN here to find out if there are any recent recalls associated with your vehicle.
Here are some additional safety tips to help keep you and your passengers safe on the road this summer.
- Avoid Distractions: Distracted driving is deadly: The U.S. lost 2,841 lives in 2018 alone. Don’t use handheld devices while driving — texting is particularly dangerous — and try to avoid other distracting activities such as eating or too much media playing at once.
- Check Your Child Seats: Make sure your children are correctly seated to match their age, weight, and height. Many families prematurely put their child in a vehicle forward-facing or without a booster at all, which can be a serious safety hazard during an accident.
- Flip-flops: Don’t drive with flip flops or bare feet. It may be more relaxing, but it increases the chances that you may not hit the gas/brake pedals properly.
- Children in Hot Cars: If you have young children, always look behind you when you exit the car in the summer. Children left in cars are not usually a lapse in judgment; it’s more commonly a lapse in memory. In 2019, there were 52 deaths of children being left in a hot vehicle, one short of the record set in 2018 of 53 deaths.
- Share the Road: More motorcyclists, cyclists, and scooters are on the roads during the warmer weather. Stay alert, and be sure to share the roads with everyone.
To learn more about the preparation steps you should take before the summer season begins, reach out for a conversation with a member of our team today!