If you are planning to travel this summer, with long trips in your car, it’s important to make sure your car is well and truly summer-ready. The winter can play havoc with the car’s bodywork, tyres and underside, which you might not be able to easily see, so it’s important to get your car checked over before heading off on long holiday drives.
The challenge of maintaining a car doubles when you purchased it as a used one. If you are planning to take that baby on the road this summer, better make sure it’s ready for the long ride. For this post we asked our friends from BMW, an online source of the best used cars, and they gave us these ten easy ways to get your car ready for the summer ahead
- 1 1. Check the Tyres
- 2 2. Are the Brakes Working?
- 3 3. Have a Thorough valet
- 4 4. Top up your oil if required
- 5 5. Check your coolant level
- 6 6. Check for the automatic transmission Fluid levels
- 7 7. Check the power steering fluid
- 8 8. Check brake fluid levels
- 9 9. Condition of the Battery
- 10 10. Check the windscreen wipers
- 11 Verdict
1. Check the Tyres
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in a detailed report has mentioned that 9% of the total car accidents happen because of tyre bursts. Problems with tyres can cause all kinds of problem with your car’s performance and can even cause accidents if you ignore them so make sure you regularly check your tyre tread and pressure.
If you swap out winter and summer seasonal tyres then make sure to do this now and make sure the set you are changing to are all perfectly intact. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre as part of your overall checks.
If you have any concerns, or are not sure how to check the tyres yourself then book the car in for a tyre check with a garage which won’t take long and will alert you to any potential problems so you can sort them out before you head off on a summer road trip.
2. Are the Brakes Working?
The winter cold and wet weather can play havoc with your brakes so make sure to get your brakes and brake pads thoroughly checked out by a garage before heading off onto a long trip.
A garage can tell if your brake pads are worn, and if any elements require replacement. It’s very tricky to inspect your brakes yourself, unless you are mechanically minded and able to remove the car wheels, so it’s best to get them checked professionally.
The last thing you want to do is head off on a long summer holiday and end up with brake problems forcing you to cut your trip short.
3. Have a Thorough valet
Road salt, grit and snow can play havoc with the underside of your car, not to mention the mud and dirt which lies on the road at winter, so take the time to get your car thoroughly cleaned before the summer.
You need to get every aspect of the car cleaned, including the underside, the wheels and even the engine, to clear out all the remnants and debris left behind from driving through the winter months.
4. Top up your oil if required
Make sure you regularly check your car’s oil level – this should be a part of your monthly car maintenance – but as the seasons change make sure the oil is still amber, and is not showing as black and dirty.
If it needs topping up then do so, but if it is black then you need to get it changed by a garage as soon as possible. You should always check your oil and tyre pressures before heading out on any journey.
5. Check your coolant level
It’s important to keep an eye on your coolant level and also the coolant mixture, so that you know when and if it needs topping it up. Again, if you aren’t confident doing this yourself then you can ask for it to be checked as part of an overall car inspection at your local garage before you head off on your summer travels.
6. Check for the automatic transmission Fluid levels
If your car comes with automatic transmission then you should either check it yourself if you are able, or book your car in to make sure the transmission fluid levels are at the right levels for your car.
7. Check the power steering fluid
While you are checking the transmission fluids it’s also advisable to check the power steering fluid – you need to make sure the levels are correct and that the fluid is clean and clear as dirty fluid can cause the whole system to break down.
8. Check brake fluid levels
While you are getting your brakes checked over for wear and tear you also need to check the brake fluid levels are correct as if this runs out or it becomes dirty, then your brakes can be badly affected and lead to poor performance and even total brake failure.
9. Condition of the Battery
The last thing you want while out on your summer travels is to be faced with a car breakdown due to an exhausted battery. Get your battery checked over to make sure it is running effectively and has no problems.
10. Check the windscreen wipers
Top up your windscreen wash and make sure your wipers are working effectively as the dirt and grime of the winter can affect the blades and you might have less fluid than you think. With the summer you end up fighting bugs and tree sap on your windscreen so it’s important that all of these aspects are working effectively.
Don’t just stop with the above points, every car is different so could be the problem. It’s your duty to keep a check on everything before taking your vehicle out. More importantly, don’t take it out for a long drive without testing all the things mentioned above and other things.