Summer Auto Checkup - 8 Things You Need To Do Now
Posted by: Dan on 19/10/2016
Summer Auto Checkup: 8 Things You Need To Do Now
With warmer weather comes the opportunity to really enjoy your driving again. As the rain and dark clouds of winter go away, a number of long weekends and annual holidays offer the chance to get out on the open road and explore.
While it should be a worry-free time in the sunshine, the fact that up to 20% more accidents occur in the summer illustrates the need to keep safety in mind, too. Here’s a handy checklist to help you ensure that your ride is up to scratch and ready to make the most of summer.
1. Inspect Your Tyres
From winter to summer, your car experiences a lot of wear and tear. Your tyres should always be the first thing you inspect. Just as the wet roads and diminished grip of winter can wear down your tyre tread, so too can the warmer months bring greater heat and stress to your tyres. Be sure to check that your four tyres are in good working order, and also make sure that your spare remains in good condition.
By doing a good inspection at the start of the sunny season, you’ll avoid any unwelcome surprises from your wheels. Even if an inspection ultimately does reveal the need for some tyre replacements, there are plenty of great things you do can with your old tyres to ensure they do get some use in summer.
2. Change the Air Filter
Air filters should be changed every 12,000-18,000 kms. Whether you use your car frequently or rarely, the warmer months bring with them an opportune time to perform this task. As a dirty air filter can lower your car’s fuel efficiency by as much as 10%, this is one of the most important maintenance tasks you should perform, just in time for those long summer trips along the coast and interstate.
3. Check Your Oil
Regular oil checks and changes should already be part of your driving habits, but as the seasons change this becomes especially important. With warmer temperatures placing a new strain upon your machinery across the board, ensuring your oil is fresh and new is an important safety measure.
4. Check All Other Fluids
Beyond your oil, be sure to check all other fluids in your car. Although this can differ slightly from vehicle to vehicle, be certain to check your coolant, power steering fluid, and windscreen fluid, as well as any other liquids your car may require to function seamlessly.
5. Clean Your Battery
After autumn and winter driving, you’ll find a whole ton of salt and other buildup on your battery. If it’s not cleaned, it can lead to corrosion, which will not only spell trouble in the long term, but it can also cause your battery to have performance failures in the short term.
While you’re cleaning your battery, also check around its connections and other areas under the bonnet for any buildup. A little here or there may not seem like a big problem now, but it's easy to forget about the promise that you’ll attend to it “next time,” until your car won’t start one morning.
6. Make Sure the A/C and All Other Console Controls Work
When summer rolls around, you’ll find yourself driving along with the windows open when it's just right outside, and the air conditioner on when it's too hot to enjoy the sunny surrounds. The summer months can put a strain on the engine and other essential components of your car, and impair their ability to function properly.
If you haven’t used your air conditioner for a while, give it a once-over by putting it on full blast. Also check to ensure that all of your car’s windows open and close quickly and easily. Then, flash your lights and make sure that your indicators, windscreen wipers, and other all functions on your console work properly.
7. Check Your Emergency Supplies
If your car breaks down in the summer, it’s unlikely that you’ll freeze, but ensuring that you have the proper gear on hand for an emergency situation remains important. First, check that you’ve got a supply of emergency water for drinking and some food (energy bars, canned goods, etc).
After that, ensure you’ve a generous supply of sun block, as well as some hats and summer gear on hand to go along with that emergency blanket. Sure, you need blankets if you break down and get cold in the middle of the outback, but if you break down in summer at the beach? Ensure you’ve got a pair of bathers on hand so you can take a swim while you wait for the tow truck to arrive.
8. Get an Engine Check Done
While winter poses its own unique challenges to a car, the warmer seasons of the year can be especially punishing on your vehicle’s engine. Using the same principles of good driving throughout the whole year – such as allowing your car five minutes to warm up in the morning even if it's set to be a beautiful summer day – will go a long way toward minimising any issues that may arise.
Just keep in mind that the extra pressure and stress placed upon your engine by the heat means that a thorough engine check is necessary before the temperatures start to regularly sit in the 30s and 40s. While most of your summer checkup can be done at home, be sure to book your car in for an inspection with your mechanic as the weather heats up.
At first, it may not seem like big changes occur to your car when the seasons change. It's also understandable that you’re focused far more on swimming, holidays, BBQs, and actually driving rather than on maintenance.
For all the joy that summer brings, though, no place is less fun to be than on the side of the road on a hot summer’s day waiting for a tow truck. By checking your vehicle and properly preparing for summer, you’ll be sure to avoid such drama, and enjoy the best of a great driving season.
What other tips form part of your summer checklist? Let us know in the comments below: