Summer’s heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance…Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too!
Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.
- Air Conditioning: Noone want a marginally operating air conditioning system especially in hot weather. For your safety it is important to have your cooling system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system and are often overlooked. Not changing these cabin air filter can result in poor air quality in the cabin of your car and exacerbate allergies and and asthma. Check your owner’s manual for location and replacement interval
- Cooling System: The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is the overheating of your engine. In order to avoid catastrophic engine failure your cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically to ensure the proper coolant levels. (A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
- Oil: Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.
Check Your Filters
- Engine Performance: Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended more often in dusty conditions. Get engine drive-ability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.
- Windshield Wipers: A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.
- Lights: Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Where Rubber Meets The Road
- Tires: Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles so tires will wear evenly and last longer.. Check tire pressures once a month doing so will improve tread life and assist with better gas mileage. check them while they’re cold before driving for any distance. Don’t forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there’s uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.
- Brakes: Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
- Battery: Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment and routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces and re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable be sure check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
- Emergencies: Carry some basic tools perhaps ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first aid kit, flares, and a flashlight.
This community reminder brought to you by the folks at National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and our Full Service Auto Repair Shop here at Highway Motors Chico.