Summer is the busiest travel season, and with airline travel uncertain at the moment, many more people may opt to take road trips to nearby destinations. The first prerequisite for any road trip is a reliable vehicle. How can you make sure your car is ready to handle the heat of summer? Here are a few tips to prep your car for fun in the sun.
Getting Ready for Road Trips
Even if you visit the dealership or your preferred local mechanic for regular maintenance, it's always best to consider a check-up before you hit the road. Or, if you're handy with car repairs, you can do some prep on your own.
Start by checking fluid levels and topping off oil, coolant, and brake, transmission, and power steering fluids if necessary. If brakes are spongy, you may need to bleed the lines. In fact, it's probably a good idea to have your brakes checked out by professionals if you haven't done so in a while. You should also check tires and tire pressure (including the spare) and fill to proper PSI.
If summer storms are an issue, make sure your wiper blades are up to the challenge, or replace them before you travel. Give your AC a whirl to ensure it's pumping out plenty of cool air. You may want to test the battery to see that it's at full strength, and check out belts and hoses for any significant wear.
If you don't have an emergency/first aid kit and basic roadside repair items like a jack, tire iron, and jumper cables, now is a great time to throw them in the trunk. You might also consider signing up for roadside assistance if you have an older car and you're worried about breaking down.
Preventing Sun/Heat Damage
Prepping for summer travel is wise, but don't forget the day-to-day. When the sun is blazing and temps reach triple digits, you need to make sure your car is ready to handle the heat. You can spare yourself a lot of hassle by simply parking in the shade, but this isn't always possible.
Regular washing and waxing can help to protect your paint and finish from oxidation, and you should make sure to check fluid levels and tire pressure regularly when temps are hot. As for your car interior, keeping it clean is a good start, but you can also add seat covers to protect fabric from fading and leather from cracking, although applying leather conditioner after cleaning is also wise.
When you're parked in the sun, pop a protective shade in the windshield, and consider tinted windows if you live in sunny climates.
With a pre-summer checkup to top off fluids and catch any potential issues early, as well as a plan to minimize sun/heat damage, your car will be ready for all your summer adventures.