- Screenshot via YouTube/Lloyd Christmas
In much of the USA, school’s out for the summer and vacation plans are in full swing.
With gas prices still at low levels, Americans are going to be taking to the road for trips both short and long.
That means getting the car in shape for the rigors of travel.
Here are some tips that will make your summer roadtrip a breeze:
Oil change time.
- Getty Images/Duane Prokop
I usually change my oil twice a year, in the spring and fall, but summer is always a good time to check your oil levels and get some fresh quarts in there for maximum hot weather, long-range engine protection.
And, thanks to an extensive AAA study, we now know that synthetic oil, although more expensive than the old-fashioned stuff, is the best bet.
Evaluate your tires.
Oil changes are always a good excuse to take a close look at your tires. They may be rated for 40,000 miles, but wear can vary, especially if you haven’t rotated them on schedule.
You’re mainly checking out tread wear – a good rule of thumb is that if the tread even seems worn down, to the point where you wonder whether adequate traction will be provided, then zip by your mechanic for a quick evaluation.
And while you’re at it, have your mechanic examine your brakes pads, rotors, and/or drums for an indication that you need to replace some or all of these components.
Lubricants and other fluids don’t want to be neglected.
- Screen via Autozone.com
Your car has other liquids besides oil and wiper fluid that need to be checked out. Transmission fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant – all need an occasional gander.
And don’t neglect the lube. Yep, doors, liftgates, and so on all need a bit of grease to operate smoothly and quietly.
Make sure the AC is in good working order.
- Top Gear/Youtube
Your car’s air-conditioning is a not uncomplicated system that needs to keep everyone cool when the mercury outside it rising – and your car itself is heating up.
Its components need the once over every summer and you need to make sure that the system is in good working order. Have the belts, the coolant, and the condenser looked by your dealer or mechanic.
Water, water, everywhere.
- Avery Hartmans/Business Insider
A summer breakdown could strand you for a few hours on a hot highway, so it’s always a good idea to update your emergency kit with extra water.
When I lived in California, I tossed 24 bottles of water into my Honda Odyssey and left them there for the hottest months. Some folks are worried about high temperatures affecting the plastic and contaminating the water, but this H20 was strictly for emergencies.
Once it cooled off, I took the water out and used it to water plants and so on.
Clean your car up — seriously.
- Screenshot via YouTube/Movieclips
If you’re been putting off a major cleanup, inside and out, since winter gave way to spring slipped into summer, now’s the perfect time to consider getting your car looking immaculate via a process called “detailing.”
It will set you back around $100, but it’s worth it. You’ll leave it with a full-service car wash or detailing service for a few hours and get it back throughly decrudified.
Detailing packages will also often include a thorough exterior cleaning and buff-wax, so your comes back looking nearly showroom fresh.
Maybe it’s time for a new car!
If the Family Truckster isn’t cutting it anymore, head on down to the dealership and check out all the new rides that carmakers will be increasingly desperate to sell as inventories pile up, the 2018 new model year looms, and a booming US sales market plateaus.
Yes, transaction prices are at historic highs, but the summer buying season can still be happy hunting time for new car buyers and those who want to lease.
Looking for a deal? If you’re single or don’t have kids to tow around then take a look at sedans, which aren’t selling well as consumers switch to crossovers. Dealers could be ready to offload these unpopular vehicles with great offers and incentives.