Summer’s here, and if you’re going on a road trip, the first thing on your mind might be what to pack in your car and when to leave. But don’t forget that your vehicle needs special attention too.
Taking care of it now will save you lots of time, money, and frustration in the long run -especially when it comes to summer heat.
The extreme heat, combined with drastic climate changes, can leave your car exposed to a wide variety of potential problems.
To avoid costly repairs and have a smooth, comfortable trip, here are eight things you need to prepare your vehicle for the summer heat.
1. Test Your AC
Is your car’s air conditioner working properly? Try taking a drive during rush hour in summer, with all of your windows down and your AC on full blast. If you can breathe easy, then you’re cool.
But if not, it might be time to test it and replace any necessary parts before next summer hits. Don’t forget about windshield wipers. A quick switch out can mean safer driving conditions as well as less stress behind the wheel.
The best way to prepare yourself is by checking off these eight steps now so that you won’t have to worry once they become crucial next season.
2. Make Sure Your Battery’s in Good Condition
A car won’t run without a good battery, so you might want to test your car battery before you hit that open road. If your battery has been acting up recently, it might be time for a replacement.
The last thing you want is your vehicle breaking down in the middle of summer heat because its battery can’t keep up with demand. Be sure all of your lights are working properly and that there aren’t any warning signs on the dash.
3. Check Your Tire Pressure
Under-inflated tires can result in decreased fuel efficiency, a rough ride, and increased wear on your tires.
Make sure you check tire pressure every two weeks or so to make sure they’re at a safe level. Ideally, you want your tires inflated between 34 psi and 38 psi.
If you notice that one tire is significantly under-inflated compared to its peers, be sure to stop by a shop as soon as possible.
4. Have Comfortable Seats
It might be tempting to spend extra on a top-of-the-line vehicle, but remember that your primary purpose is transporting passengers, so don’t spend money on superfluous extras like expensive sound systems and high-performance engines.
Instead, make sure you buy seats that are comfortable and supportive. In addition to maintaining comfort for your passengers, purchasing high-quality seats can protect you from liability claims if one of your guests is injured in an accident.
You should also include custom-fit car mats made out of durable materials. It helps prevent dirt and germs from seeping into your interior while also protecting against spills, stains, and staining.
They can also be comfortable enough to take some pressure off your feet when driving long distances.
5. Invest in Tinted Windows
Dark windows help keep your car cooler. Most tint shops will not apply tint to a window that is cracked or damaged. If you have damaged glass, replace it before getting your windows tinted.
The most popular tints are warm and cool shades of gray that range from 5% to 50% darkness. Discuss with your tint shop about how much darkness will suit your vehicle best.
6. Double-check Your Brakes
One of your car’s most important safety features is its brakes. If you’re not familiar with how they work, get them checked.
A regular inspection will ensure that your breaks are working properly and there isn’t anything that might prevent you from stopping quickly. Even if it seems like everything is fine, it might be worth asking a mechanic to take a look at them.
7. Don’t Exhaust the Engines
When you take long road trips, your engine can get too hot. Instead of driving over 100 miles at a time, lookout for signs that warn you to stop driving and allow your vehicle’s engine to cool down.
If you’re crossing state lines or passing through National Parks, make sure your car is up-to-date on routine maintenance. And if you notice any strange smells coming from your vehicle-keep an eye out!
8. Pack Basic Car Tools
If you can plug a hole in your boat, then you can fill a tire. Remember these three essentials: jack, jack handle, and lug wrench.
Most people don’t bring any tools with them when they leave on their summer road trip and end up wasting time locating basic tools at local gas stations or car shops along their way.
If you do some planning and bring along some simple auto tools, it’ll save you a lot of hassle on your vacation.
If you own a car and plan on taking a road trip you’ll want to prepare your vehicle before leaving. Make sure your car is in good condition and has enough gas by checking off these eight items from our checklist.
Our tips will help ensure that you make it safely to your destination and enjoy a safe, fun-filled vacation.