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June 28th, 2017

How to Prepare Your Car for the Warm Summer Months

The arrival of summer can make you feel like jumping in your car, cranking some tunes and going for a drive.

But nothing can kill that great open-road vibe like having your car break down in the middle of your good time.

Because cruising in a tow truck just isn’t the same, you may want to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape for summer.

Here are some operations and systems that should be checked out.

Air conditioning

It’s a good idea to have the air conditioning system checked out periodically, especially if you notice that it isn’t working as well as it should. A weak-functioning A/C probably won’t be able to last through the heat of the summer. This is a job that will require the input of a pro.

Cooling system

Did you know the most frequent cause of vehicle breakdowns in the summer is overheating? While the cooling system needs to be flushed approximately every two years, the levels should be checked more regularly. A professional will need to look at belts, clamps and hoses to be sure there isn’t excessive wear and that nothing is malfunctioning.

Oil

The best advice is to follow the instructions provided in your owner’s manual. Although the accepted rule of thumb has been to change it every 3 months or 3,000 miles, newer cars can go much longer than that. If your driving consists of mainly short trips, long trips with a lot of luggage or if you tow a trailer, your manual may instruct you to change the oil and filter more frequently.

Engine operation

All the filters should be changed at the intervals suggested by your owner’s manual, though in dusty climates, you may need to change them more often. If your vehicle doesn’t start the way it should, tends to stall or doesn’t run as smoothly as it usually does, get a reputable mechanic to evaluate it.

These 5 Insurance Tips for Arizona residents will help you best protect your car no matter what.

Tires

Check the tread and look for uneven wear or cuts. You should have the tires rotated every 5,000 miles and the pressure should be checked about once a month. You may need an alignment if your car pulls to one side when you’re driving.

Battery

Summer isn’t the only time that your battery can go kaput, but it’s just as good a time as any to make sure it’s good to go. Keep in mind that the only way to detect if your battery is weak is to have it tested by a professional.

Windshield wipers

Did you know that dirty windows can affect your vision? It can! Failing wipers won’t clean your windshield well enough and can be a safety hazard. They should be replaced periodically or when you notice they aren’t as effective or if they have a tear.

Lights

Having a signal or brake light out can be very dangerous. All the lights on your vehicle should be inspected to make sure they’re all functioning properly.

Brakes

Once again, checking your owner’s manual will give you the best indication about when the brakes should be serviced, but if you notice any pulsation, grinding noises, or feel like it takes longer for the car to stop, take it to a trusted mechanic right away.

Insurance

It should go without saying, but making sure your car has the coverage that it needs will prevent you from getting into a bad situation. It’s also illegal to drive without insurance, and if you were to have an accident, you may not be able to financially afford to replace your vehicle.

Following maintenance schedules and keeping your vehicle in good working order throughout the summer will put your mind at ease when the mood strikes you to have a road trip adventure.

Is there an area on this list that you tend to overlook?

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