Summer Vacation Auto Care Checklist

June 4, 2012

With summer officially here and airfare prices on the rise, many drivers are looking to their vehicles to provide transportation to their summer vacation spots. Hitting the road can be a great way to save some cash and the drive can be half the fun, but summer road trips can quickly turn sour if you don’t take the proper measures to prepare your vehicle for the journey.
Before you load up the car, consider these 5 car care tips to prep your vehicle for a safer, more comfortable summer on the road.

5 Summer Car Care Tips


1. Brakes and Regular Maintenance

Your brakes are your most important safety feature, so be sure they’re in working order before you set off for any extended summer drive. Bring your vehicle in two weeks before your trip to have your brakes checked and serviced if your pads or rotors need maintenance. You should also arrange for regular maintenance performed to check your oil levels, belts and hoses, air filter, and have your windshield wipers replaced before you leave.

2. Tires

If you haven’t recently, have your tires checked for wear and tear and be sure that they are inflated to optimal pressure. Proper tread depth will keep you maneuvering safely and optimal tire pressure can actually improve gas mileage. You can check your tire pressure at home with a tire gauge, referencing the suggested pressure on your tire’s sidewall. To check tread depth, you can put a penny in the tread, head-first. If Lincoln’s head is mostly visible, you should consider a new tire.

3. A/C Service

A hot, stuffy car is sure to ruin a summer road trip, so be sure to have you’re AC system checked out before you hit the road. Test your air conditioning system before you leave and make sure it can cool air to around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The most common AC issue is low refrigerant levels, so have your vehicle restocked if necessary. You should also have your AC system checked for any leaks that might deplete your refrigerant levels on the way.

4. Coolant and Radiator

In the hot summer months, it’s vital that your engine can take the heat. Radiators and coolant are your best defense against a steaming summer disaster, so prevent breakdowns by having your engine coolant replaced and your radiator serviced if it hasn’t been in the shop recently. Having your hoses checked will also prevent overheating in case you’re losing fluid on its way to the radiator.

5. Be Ready for Any Emergency

When stocking the car, don’t forget to leave room for an emergency kit in the case something does go wrong. Your kit should include first aid kit, flashlight, gloves, rain gear, jumper cables, a toolkit, radiator fluid or water, fix-a-flat, food and drinkable water, road flares or warning signals, and a fire extinguisher. You should also be sure you have a functioning spare tire, a jack, and tire iron in case you need to use it.