Sayonara to heavy jackets and wooly scarves, and hello to shorts and sunscreen. Summer is just around the corner, and you are probably warming up for some awesome road trips to unwind. But if you want to make the most of these warm days, don’t forget to check your car before you set off on your ride. Set aside some time to organize your itinerary, along with all the necessary car maintenance and repairs. If you don’t know where to start, below is the checklist:
De-Winterize your vehicle
Summer is just too short to carry some dead-weight reminders of winter. So, keep all the stuff like tire chains, winter mats, ice scraper or any other irrelevant seasonal gear in your store room. Lighten the load and make your car spacious until the first frost of next winter hits your windshield.
Clean interior and trunk
The interior of your car and trunk require thorough cleaning and vacuuming. Even if it’s your least favorite chore, you can’t afford to ignore it.
Also, don’t forget to apply quality treatment to your leather seats (esp. if you have a luxury car). This will help in keeping them pliable and ready for summer’s excessive heat and UV rays.
Don’t forget your sports and summer gear
Once you clean your trunk and make it empty, you can add some interesting stuff. But, no stuff for the sake of stuff! Some cool items that you could consider are golf bags, swim suit, Frisbee, baseball, glove, to mention a few. It’s good to have such items in your car for impromptu play. However, this entirely depends on your lifestyle, interest and the purpose of your ride.
Look over your air conditioning and cabin air filter
There are many people (including me) that prefer to run their car’s air conditioner throughout the year, just to keep everything functional. Even if you don’t fall under this category, never wait for the first 90°F day to understand your air conditioner is DOA.
Before gearing up for the trip, give your A/C a test, set it to the coolest and evaluate the air quality. If you know that your vehicle is pulling in dust and unpleasant odors, it’s better to try out FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filters. These filters can catch 98% of dirt, reduce pollutants and absorb odors.
During winter, your vehicle’s air filter is likely to get clogged with salt and other debris, and consequently, it can lower the fuel efficiency. So, by having the filter changed, you can improve gas mileage by as much as 10%.
Get sunscreen for you, and get your window tinted!
When it comes to a road trip, even a tiny thing can make a big difference. And mark my words; this is not a tiny thing. If you have driven your car on a hot sunny day, you might already know how frustrating a strong glare can be while driving. Say how do you feel, if you have to keep your hands on forehead, when “Born to be wild” is pumping up on your stereo?
When you get your car windows tinted, it will block all the harmful rays coming from the sun. This not just protects your skin but also keep your upholsteries in a perfect condition.
Similarly, get a sunscreen for yourself! Remember, it’s a basic need rather than just an accessory. And if you think you look cool just by putting on a sunscreen, then no, you are not wrong. You do look cool!
Change wiper blades
Six months is an ideal time-period to replace windshield wiper blades. Though it’s not the biggest thing to consider, you can take this as a preventive measure. Check the performance of the wiper and replace the blades as soon as it drops off. General rule of thumb, if your wipers are taking a lot of time to clean your windshield and still leaving visible streaks while clearing away the rain, you need to replace the blades ASAP.
During summertime, the chances of sudden, violent thunderstorms are pretty high. When heavy drops of water beat your windshield, you need wipers that serve the purpose. Else, the heavy rainfall would cause the rubber to tear and have cracks, lowering the effectiveness of the wipers.
Battery is the key
There’s a universal belief that car batteries die pretty soon in winter, in comparison to summer. But according to the Car Care Council, summer strains them too, more or less. Due to the rise in temperature in summer, the fluid of the battery gets evaporated, further leading to corrosion and poor performance. So, make sure that you clean your battery’s top and posts.
Change engine oil and filter
The importance of the engine cannot be told in one odd line. As we do a lot of heavy driving during the hot days, the engine is more likely to overheat. So, you need to change the engine oil and oil filter, before you head out for the trip.
If you overlook this issue, you will soon have plenty of time to ponder this – along the side of the road, possibly miles from nowhere. Apart from this, you also need to check out your lights, belts and air filter. Unless you love to get stranded on some faraway land, get these things done in the right away.
Check your tires and brakes:
No tires, no travel – as simple as it. You need to look over your tires frequently, even if you have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Check tread depth while watching for signs of damage. Figure out if they all (including the spare) are at recommended cold pressures or not. Tires tend to fail due to improper inflation combined with extended driving on hot roads. Over/under inflated or misaligned tire can lead to many dangers down the road, esp. in hot summer weather.
Only one out of 10 drivers checks his/her tire pressure correctly, compared with almost seven out of 10 who wash their cars regularly
– According the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA)
Further, find out if your brakes are functioning well or not. And, don’t forget to check your brake fluid as well. It’s ideal to check your brakes twice a year.
Check your headlights:
Sometimes you may fail to notice that the bulb in your headlight is out. No better time than now to work on this and see if you need to replace the headlight bulb. Having a good headlight not just ensures safety but also saves you from getting the “ticket”.
Trip without luscious food and refreshing drinks doesn’t sound tempting. So, pack some of these things too.
- Plain dark chocolate
- Cheese slices and sticks
- Hard boiled eggs
- Beer and wine
- Ice packs
- Veggie snacks
- Cut and washed fruit (bananas, apples)
- Cold water
- Coffee (ground or instant)
- Chips and crackers
- Gum and candy
- Instant noodles
Once you tick off all the ‘to dos’ from the checklist, you will only have a few good things left. What’s that? Well, backpack some fancy dresses and create a playlist of some peppy numbers. You can even try “Zepathon” – Remember how Jack Black defined Zepathon on Kennedy Honors?
And most importantly, set your mood ON to have the best trip of your life.