A little bit of preemptive care can help any trip go smoothly and avoid the headache of a breakdown.
How to Get Your Vehicle Ready for Summer in North Carolina
Cars can be complicated pieces of engineering, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few maintenance items you can tackle at home. We have compiled a list of some basic car care steps any owner can take, regardless of knowledge level. Upkeep can keep you on the move and save your wallet from more expensive repairs.
Let’s take a look at some key summer car maintenance items, including:
- Engine Fluids
- Belts and Hoses
- Exterior Care
A lot of things are easy enough to address at home; others may require a mechanics' help. Either way, you want to catch an issue early before it becomes a problem.
1. Battery Terminal Check
We are going to start out our list by checking a few things under the hood, starting with the battery. Generally, the simplest to locate; you won’t be going anywhere without a good battery. Give it a spot check to ensure the electrical cables are secure and do not show any signs of corrosion.
If you notice build-up around the connectors, a little bit of elbow grease can have them cleaned in no time. First, disconnect the cables! Take a toothbrush and baking soda/water paste and scrub them clean. If you have battery terminal protector spray on hand, give them a coating once dry and then reconnect the cables.
2. Oil, Coolant, and Washer Fluid
Car engines rely on several systems to keep running smoothly and efficiently. Ample clean oil reduces friction and wears on parts in the engine, coolant keeps temperatures in check, and washer fluid makes sure we can see the road. Make sure the reservoirs of all liquids are within filling limits and are the appropriate color.
Dark-colored oil means you need a complete oil change, and a rusty tint to coolant indicates an issue somewhere deeper in the system. You are unlikely to be able to address these in your home garage. So make sure to schedule an appointment with a mechanic.
3. Belts and Hoses
Give a cursory glance over all the belts and hoses throughout the engine while you still have the hood up. Plastic and rubber tubing and drive belts can take a lot of wear, but eventually, they will all begin to break down. Check for brittle areas, the beginning of cracks, or parts loosening from connections. If anything seems off, take note and get it looked at by a repair shop.
4. Wash and Wax
One of the easiest ways to get your car ready for summer is a good, thorough wash. To prevent corrosion, pay special attention to getting the salt and road grime build-up out from the undercarriage.
And don’t skimp on wax. Protective polishes aren’t just there to make your car shine; they help protect against the elements keeping your paint in good condition for much longer.
5. Windshield Wipers
The rubber on windshield wipers degrades naturally over time from use and weather. No season is harsher on them than winter with its freezing temperatures.
With spring and summer comes rain and storms. Windshield wipers that aren’t up to the task can be a significant safety hazard and, if dry or chipped badly enough, can start to scratch windshields.
If you see any deterioration along the blade, go ahead and swap it out. Changing blades is easy enough to do at home; just follow the instructions that come with the new blade.
If you have put on winter-specific tires, now is the time to put on a set for warmer weather. For the rest of us, it is an excellent time to check that the tire pressure is within the manufacturer's recommended levels and top up if needed.
You can usually find the recommended PSI in your owner's manual. Tire gauges typically run about $2, and for those without an air compressor, you can refill at the gas station.
While you’re checking each tire's PSI, give a quick look at the tread. Two quick ways to verify if you don’t have sufficient grip is if wear bars in the tread are flush or you can’t see all of Lincoln’s head if you insert a penny. In either instance, you don’t have adequate tread left and need a new set of tires.
And don’t just check one area of the tire. Check both sides and the middle of the tread. If there is a significant difference in the level of wear, you may need to get your car realigned.
7. Test the AC
Before it gets too hot out, make sure to take a test drive with the AC running. You don’t want to find out too late that there is an issue.
If you notice a reduction in the cooling capacity or excessive noise coming off of the fan, it is time to get it to the shop. AC fixes are usually quick and relatively inexpensive, whether you just need a refrigerant top-off, filter change, or a new motor.
8. Repair Auto Body Damage
It's important to have any auto body damage repaired before summer for several reasons. First, summer weather conditions can exacerbate existing damage, such as cracks or chips in the windshield or paint, making the problem worse. Additionally, if the damage affects the functioning of the vehicle, such as with dented panels or damaged lights, it could pose a safety hazard on the road.
Lastly, summer is a time for road trips and outdoor activities, and having a damaged vehicle can put a damper on these plans. By addressing any auto body damage before summer, you can ensure that your vehicle is safe, functional, and looking its best for all of your summer adventures.
Have Your Vehicle Body Repaired by the Team at First Aid Collision
Summer is just around the corner, which means it's time to get your vehicle in top shape! If your car has any dents, scratches, or other body damage, now is the time to get it repaired by the experts at First Aid Collision.
Our skilled technicians use only the best equipment and techniques to help restore your car's body to its former glory. With our quick turnaround times, you'll be back on the road in no time. Plus, repairing your vehicle now will help ensure it's ready for any summer road trips or adventures you have planned.
Don't let body damage continue to detract from the beauty and functionality of your car. Call First Aid Collision today to schedule an appointment before summer arrives. Our exceptional customer service and commitment to quality will have you driving with confidence all season long.