Are you ready for another Arizona summer? Don’t let a winter filled with warm temperatures and friendly jabs at your friends living in the Midwest and East Coast lull you into forgetting what we’ll all be dealing with before you know it: the heat of the desert. If you think 100 degree-plus temperatures are hard on you, consider what your vehicle is up against. Before it gets crazy-hot, here are a few tips for things you can do to prepare for the summer.
Don’t take your tires for granted.
They are the most important component of a car or truck and, all too often, the most neglected. Rotate your tires about every 5,000 miles and check your tire pressure at least once a month, inflating to the pressure recommended by the manufacturer. It’s extremely important to check pressure while tires are cold and before you drive any distance. Underinflated or worn tires can be detrimental to handling and braking and could lead to dangerous blow-outs while you’re driving. Check the tread for uneven wear, tread life and cupping (that’s when uneven suspension leads to scoops in your tires) and examine the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. If you have uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to the side, get your alignment checked. Finally, don’t forget to check your spare tire – you never know when you might need it.
Make sure your air conditioning works.
You probably haven’t had to use it in a few months, so you want to make sure your A/C is there for you when it’s 105 degrees outside. Newer cars and trucks have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system – check your owner’s manual for replacement intervals.
Check your cooling system.
The biggest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. You should completely flush and refill your cooling system about every 24 months. Check the condition, level and concentration of coolant periodically to ensure your vehicle keeps its cool.
Don’t forget your belts, hoses, and clamps.
Check their tightness and condition and replace them if they’re old or worn. This is a simple and inexpensive way to prevent a problem before it happens. You don’t want a burst hose to ruin your summer vacation and lead to a big repair bill.
Check your oil and oil filter.
Oil helps to keep your engine lubricated and reduces friction and heat buildup. In the summer, when your engine is more likely to overheat, you want to give it as much lubrication as possible.
While you’re at it, check your other fluids.
Heat causes liquids to evaporate so make sure you top off all the fluids that lubricate and cool your engine.
Make sure your battery can do its job.
Your battery contains both water and acid. In the heat of the summer, the water can evaporate, exposing the lead plates inside the battery. Have your mechanic inspect your battery to make sure it’s ready for summer.
Look at your radiator cap.
Exposure to shifting temperatures can damage the cap and its metal spring can weaken over time, so it’s a good idea to make sure your vehicle’s radiator cap will last the summer. If it’s more than five years old, think about replacing it.
Keep a good emergency kit in your trunk.
Here are some tips for what you should include in your comprehensive vehicle emergency kit.
Ric’s Body & Paints hope you follow these tips and that you have a trouble-free summer for your vehicle.