Hot wheels: How to prepare your car for summer travel
Whether you’re hitting the beach or taking off on a cross-country adventure, the AAA says there are several things you should do to prepare your car for the summer heat
The weather is getting warmer, and that means it’s time to hit the road.
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Whether you’re hitting the beach or taking off on a cross-country adventure, the American Automobile Association said there are several things you should do to prepare your car for the summer heat.
Tires and tire pressure
AAA recommends you check all four tires and the spare for any cuts, gouges or sidewall bulges.
Have a quarter? Stick it upside down in the tire's grooves to check the tread. If you can see the top of George Washington's head, it's time for a new tire.
It's also important to check the tire pressure when your car has been idle and the tires are cool. Your owner's manual and a sticker on the driver's side doorjamb will list the vehicle's recommended pressure.
Check the brakes
Alright stop, collaborate (with your mechanic) and listen: Do you hear a grinding sound or feel a vibration when applying your brakes? AAA said you should get your car to an auto repair shop for an inspection. There, a technician can check the brake fluid system for leaks. They will also check out the pads, rotors, shoes and drums to ensure everything is safe and in working order.
You also want to check out your car battery and make sure it's working correctly. Bring your car to your mechanic and have them check that connections are tight, clean and secure. You can also request a battery check to see its remaining juice.
Check the oil and other fluids
It's essential to check your car's engine oil, coolant, brake, transmission and power steering fluids to ensure they're at the proper levels. Next time you head to the mechanic, ask them to check the fluid levels in your vehicle and top them off if needed.
Replace windshield wipers
Windshield wiper blades deteriorate naturally over time, according to AAA. So, if your wipers begin to streak or won't clear your windshield completely, it's time for a new set.
Also, make sure you have plenty of wiper fluid. If you live in a snowy location, you likely run through a lot of fluid to remove snow, mud and dirt that splashes onto your windshield. Top off the fluid and make sure the nozzles spray your windshield correctly.
Belts and hoses
Reinforced rubber drive belts power the engine water pump and accessories such as the alternator and air conditioning compressor, so AAA recommends that you inspect and replace any that are cracked, glazed or frayed.
Also, be sure to inspect and replace any worn, brittle or soft radiator hoses.
Check the air conditioner
If it's not too hot out, take a test drive with the air conditioner running. If you notice it's taking a while to cool down the interior of your car or not working at all, bring your car to an auto repair shop so it can get repaired before temperatures start to get too high.