Key car components to check before summer

May 21, 2014 12:00 AM

The summer is a perfect time for car travel. Whether you're hoping to hit the road for a long journey or simply taking a quick day trip to the beach with your family, the weather is ideal for rolling down your window and taking a leisurely drive. However, it's crucial to prioritize scheduled maintenance to prepare your car for the inevitable heat during this season, while also resolving any issues that may have arisen during the winter. The harsh cold months can cause some major stress and damage to your vehicle, so you'll want to address this with any necessary auto repair before it turns into a costly problem.

"Taking steps to have auto repairs performed before long distance driving this summer will not only give you peace of mind, but will also help avoid the inconvenience and potential safety hazards of breaking down when you're miles from home," said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.

Car troubles can put a serious dent in your summer plans. Here are some things a trusted mechanic or similar professional should check to get your automobile ready for the rising temperatures.

The battery
One of the most vital aspects of your vehicle is the battery, which is why it's the first component you should check. explained that excessive heat can put more strain on the battery, lowering its life span, and it won't likely give you a warning far before it dies. The source noted that this is an especially important consideration if your battery is more than three years old. A simple test at an auto shop can determine whether you need to replace it with a new one.

The brake system 
To ensure safety on the roads, the Car Care Council stressed that it's imperative to make sure your battery connection to the brake system is not only tight, but also clean of any corrosion. A little wear and tear on the brakes is normal, but as they are one of the most critical components of your car in terms of safety, it's best to have them checked out to make sure no repair is needed. A thorough inspection will include looking at the condition of all brake lining and hoses, brake and dash warning lights and brake fluid level, as well as doing a test drive to identify any other potential issues.

Tire Pressure
Don't forget tire maintenance, either. The Car Care Council recommends checking the tire pressure as well as the tread, as inadequate inflation can hinder fuel efficiency, while uneven wear means wheel alignment might be necessary. Be on the lookout for any bald spots or bulges on the tires as well. These measures will help reduce the risk of a flat tire while also improving your gas mileage, saving you money.

One of the most common reasons a car breaks down in the summer is overheating, which is why advised checking the radiator's coolant. The source warned against adding coolant to the radiator without flushing it out first. 

Wiper Blades 
Between snow, sleet and ice, winter puts your windshield wipers through a lot. Plymouth Rock Assurance suggested ensuring that no major wear and tear has been done to the rubber on the blades, and replacing them if there is significant damage. You'll also want to consider swapping them out if you used blades specifically designed for winter. Ideally, your summer blades will be able to handle any heavy rain storms.

Air Conditioning
Lastly, it should go without saying that your air conditioning unit needs to be fully functioning. recommended having a trained technician check it out to make sure the Freon is at the right level and air filters are working properly.

Back to news