Summer’s coming, so is your car ready for a long and hot trip? Here we humbly provide 5 summer driving tips for you to make sure your car a little more efficient and safer.
1. Make sure that the radiator core is in good shape
In areas of the country where roads are salted, the core of the radiator can literally rot away. Even though the radiator may not be leaking now, it will be leaking soon. That means bad overheating. And when your engine isn’t cooled properly, it can easily blow a head gasket, or crack or warp a cylinder head. In technical jargon, your engine is going to “melt.”
2. Make sure that you have the correct tire pressure in all five tires
“Recommended tire pressure” is what you want in your tires. If you’re carrying an extra heavy load, follow the recommendation for “heavy loads,“ which is usually listed in your owner’s manual.
3. Check steering and suspension
Go to your mechanic and ask him to check the suspension and the front end, including ball joints, tie rods and steering components. By the way, some vehicles with rear, independent suspension have ball joints and related components that can fail catastrophically, and fall under the car. It’s a good idea to find out if your car has this kind of car suspension. If it does, don’t forget to mention this to your mechanic.
4. Change the oil
Make sure you stay on top of your oil changes. This is particularly important in the summer, since a hot engine needs all the lubrication it can get, and at high temperatures your engine’s oil is really getting put through the wringer. Our current recommendation is to change your oil every 5,000 miles–though that number may decrease dramatically if Kendall delivers with that check they keep promising.
5. Check the air conditioning system
All you have to do is check to see that you’re getting some cold air coming out of the vents when you turn on your AC. You might consider asking your mechanic to check to make sure that the AC system is fully charged with refrigerant. The bottom line, though, is this: If you’re getting cold air out of the vents, it’s not worth messing with the AC at all.