Summertime is a time for traveling. Whether it’s to the beach, the mountains or the All-American road trip, it’s hard to not take advantage of this time of year to take a vacation. Before hitting the road, though, you can take a few simple precautions to keep your loved ones safe and maybe even save money at the pump. The kind of heat that we have here in NC can be particularly hard on cars, so make sure to keep on top of the following things to keep your vehicle running smoothly this summer:
1. Check your tires. Only one out of ten drivers know how to correctly check their tires, but over-inflated, worn, or under-inflated or misaligned tires can be dangerous in hot weather. Consult your owner’s manual to see what PSI your tires need to be in hot weather. Also, use the penny trick to see if you still have enough tread on your tires. Stick a penny in the tread, and if Lincoln’s head disappears, you’re good. We can also check your tires as well if you’re unsure about any of the above. Last thing: make sure to also check your spare tire.
2. Change your oil and filter. Oil keeps your engine running clean, smooth, and cool. Most of us do a lot more driving during the summer, so keep in mind the guidelines for changing for your vehicle and also check your oil before a trip so you’re not caught off-guard.
3. Check hoses and belts. The key to keeping your car running well this summer is generally keeping the engine running cool. The hoses connect to the radiator and help pump coolant back and forth between the engine block. The belts run the fan that helps cool the system. A cracked hose or broken belt will lead to the radiator overheating.
4. Replace your windshield wipers. We all know summer is the time for torrential downpours in this area. This is when you need wipers that really work versus smearing water when they should be swiping it off your windshield. If your wipers are smearing water, leaving visible streaks, or requiring several passes to clear away light rain, then they need to be replaced.
5. Check your brakes. Brakes are the single most important safety feature on your vehicle. Don’t put yourself or your loved ones at risk by riding around on worn down or faulty brakes. We can always check this for you! Some signs your brakes need some help: 1. Your brake pedal feels very soft. 2. You pedal feels hard or resistant. 3. Warning lights come on. 4. Scraping or grinding sounds are emitted when you brake.
6. Check the coolant and radiator. If an engine gets too hot, this is never good and can cause a variety of internal problems. Summer is tough on cooling systems in your vehicle. Sitting in traffic creates a situation where there is no air to flow across the engine to keep it cool. If your coolant levels are low, your engine temperature is going to go up. A general rule is to flush your radiator and add new coolant at least every two years. This is done with a special chemical that cleans debris and build up on the inside of the radiator. And if you see a small puddle of coolant under your vehicle when it’s been parked for a while, then you have a leak. You need to bring it in ASAP and have it checked out.
7. Clean your battery. Hot weather is harder on your battery than you think. Summer can speed up the chemical reaction inside a battery, causing it to overcharge, which can shorten the lifespan of your battery greatly. Heat can also evaporate the internal battery fluid. We can run a quick battery inspection if you suspect either of these issues.
8. Maintain your air conditioner. Losing cool air on a hot summer day is rather uncomfortable to say the least. The most common issue with your AC in your car is a low level of refrigerant. This should always be done by a professional as air conditioning units, especially in newer cars, are complicated beasts!
If you follow up and check all eight of these suggestions, you should be well on your way to maintaining a long life for your vehicle, thereby also keeping your beloved passengers safe! For any and all questions, please make sure to call us!
Summer is also the time for NEW WHEELS!
We’re open from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm every Monday through Friday and would love to show all that we have to you. Call us at (910) 483-2958 as well for more information. And as always, watch our website and our Crumpler’s Facebook page for current updates. We love your feedback and shares. Thank you all for your support and your business. Now, let’s have the best summer we can as we MAKE THOSE MEMORIES!