Is your car road-trip ready? Sal’s Auto & Truck Repair Acton MA recommends having your car checked out by a trusted local mechanic a week or more before your trip to keep you safe on the road this summer season!
With summer weather, it's time to roll down your windows and really ‘listen to your car’ or have someone else drive it to check out any car noises (you may be used to) to prevent a bigger problem down (or on) the road. Sal's Auto performs a Complimentary 60 point vehicle inspection with every service! Call Sal’s Auto & Truck Repair Acton MA for an appointment! Check our Sal's Auto Seasonal Car Care Specials.
A properly maintained car gets you where you want to go, and saves you money getting there. If you are planning to travel by car this summer season, take steps to avoid ending up on the side of the road. Make sure your car is in good shape so it won’t break down.
Here are 7 Tips for Safe Summer Car Travel courtesy of Money Talk News:
Overheating is the No. 1 cause of summer breakdowns, says the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). Make sure your radiator is adequately filled with coolant at the right concentration — usually a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, but check your car’s specifications. Make sure your gauge doesn’t register too hot to avoid engine damage.
Your coolant is only as good as the hoses it flows through. Look for leaks, cracks, peeling or separation. If the hose is spongy or soft in even one section, consider replacing it before it fails and causes bigger problems.
The hotter the weather gets, the more important oil becomes. Oil helps prevent overheating by lubricating many moving parts. However, oil additives break down over time.
- Oil change recommendations are as frequent as every 3,000 miles, but makers of many modern cars say to wait until a maintenance-reminder light brightens your dashboard.
- According to the Car Care Council: having to only change your oil every 7,500 miles is something we would all prefer, 3,000 to 5,000 miles are numbers more representative of actual driving conditions. By erring on the side of caution, you’ll help to extend the life of your car.
- Check your oil between changes and add a quart or two of your car manufacturer’s recommended grade, if needed.
Hot weather can strain a battery. Test the battery if it’s more than 3 years old or if you see one of these telltale signs of a failing battery:
- Lights dim at starting
- Power drain when turning on the air conditioning
- Slow cranking when you start the car
A marginally operating air-conditioning system may fail in hot weather, says the ASE. Put a thermometer in your car’s vent while the air conditioner is running and see how cool the air is getting. If it’s not cooling properly, you may try replacing cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air-conditioning system in newer cars. Check your owner’s manual for location and how often they should be replaced.
However, if your air-conditioning system is suffering from a bigger problem — like a leak or loss of refrigerant — it’s likely time for a mechanic.
Your four tires offer a critical connection to the road, says the Car Care Council. Check them at least monthly. Low tire pressure adds rolling resistance, making it harder for the engine to move your car.
- Proper tire pressure, which should be posted on your car door, improves gas mileage by 3.3 percent, or about 10 cents a gallon, the council says.
- Under-inflation stresses a tire’s internal fabric and steel cord so they flex beyond designed limits and lose their bond to the rubber. The result can be a blowout.
- Don’t wait for your car’s tire pressure monitoring system to light up, as it may be too late to save the tire. Instead, check air pressure when the tires are cool — summer weather and friction can cause the pressure inside to rise, giving you a false sense of security.
- Also, check the tire tread by inserting a penny: If you can see all of Abraham Lincoln’s head, it’s time for new tires. If tires look unevenly worn, have your wheel balance and alignment checked.
- Consider a tuneup. Fouled spark plugs cause the engine to lose power or misfire, wasting fuel and lowering gas mileage. However, check your owner’s manual before scheduling a tuneup. Many newer cars don’t require a tuneup for more than 100,000 miles.
- Check the brakes. If you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises or longer stopping distances when braking, it’s time for repairs.
- Change the wipers. Windshield wipers deteriorate faster in sunny weather. If you get caught in a summer shower, you want to be able to see where you’re going. Many auto parts stores offer free installation when you buy new wiper blades.
- Wash and wax. Sunlight, UV radiation, acid rain, salt, dirt and air pollution can damage your car’s exterior. Protect the paint and finish by washing and waxing your car regularly.
- Keep a safety kit. In case your car does break down, be prepared with supplies, including water for yourself and the radiator, jumper cables, a flashlight and batteries, and a first-aid kit.
The right car maintenance can save you time and money and keep you traveling safely on the road this summer!