Even though COVID-19 might have put a pause on our social life, summer is still happening and you need to get your vehicle prepared. We had a quiet winter being in quarantine, but now that businesses, parks, and such are slowly opening back up with social distancing measures we have to be prepared for our vehicles. It is a big change from commuting everyday to abruptly staying at home and that affects our vehicles. Not being used doesn't mean that cars stay in place and no damage is happening. And since mechanic shops might be still closed or you do not want to risk visiting one, here are our tips on what to check, change, and replace yourself ahead of this summer.
Check the Coolant Level
The first and most important thing you must check is the coolant liquid in your vehicle. It is critical because the coolant is what keeps the engine running and not overheating. In the summer, there is more risk of vehicles overheating due to hotter temperatures. You must check that the coolant chemicals are correct and not just be mostly water because it will evaporate with the excess heat. Checking the coolant lines is also important because if they are weak or mixing with the oil, your engine could explode and cause a lot of damage.
Check Your Air Conditioning
The worst thing on a summer day is to get in your very hot car and realize your AC system is not working. It makes going anywhere uncomfortable and can also be dangerous to your health. You also do not want to drive around with your windows rolled down all the time because of the risk of COVID-19. Test your air conditioning system before it gets too warm, and if you hear any strange sounds or feel like it is just pushing out warm air- you should get it inspected by a professional. Newer models also have cabin air filters that filter the air entering and leaving the AC system, so that should be checked as well.
Check Your Battery and Brakes
With the vehicle sitting in the driveway with minimal usage can lead to the battery becoming weak or in a “state of sleep”. This can make it seem like your battery is on low or can really be the end of its life. You can tell if the battery is weak if it sputters when you turn on the car or it takes longer than usual. Batteries can fail anytime of the year, but it has a higher risk because of our quarantine state so it is wise to get it checked by a professional. While you are at it, you should also check the brakes. Brakes are usually worn out even more in the winter due to higher stop-and-go traffic. Brakes should be checked based on the recommended time you can find in your vehicle manual. It should be checked sooner or after quarantine if you notice any noises, pulsations, or longer stopping distance.
Switch and Check Your Tires
Now that winter is over, we can retire the snow tires and switch to all-season or summer tires. It is not a good idea to keep the winter tires on because they are made from a softer rubber material that is flexible in cooler temperatures but wears out easier in hotter temperatures. If you did not switch your tires during the winter, you should remember to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or every other oil change. You should also check your tire pressures once a month while they are cold before driving. We also advise to keep a spare and to not forget to also check on it as well. Summer time entails road trips and adventures, and you do not want to get stuck or a flat tire without a spare that is in good condition.
Change Your Windshield Wipers
Just like winter tires, winter windshield wipers are made from a different rubber that does not work well in the summer. Winter blades should be changed when it starts to warm up again. If you did not use winter blades, you should check your current wipers if they are dry because they will cause damage to the glass and make a loud squeak when it drags across. Replacing and changing windshield wipers are important because a dirty windshield strains the eye and can pose a safety hazard. Don’t forget to also make sure you have windshield wiper solution as well so you can clean your windshield clearly.
Wash Your Car
Final step of the summer preparations is to give your car a good wash.Sitting in the driveway may have let the car literally collect dust. Washing your car can be therapeutic and makes feel like it is finally summer. During this pandemic you should have been already cleaning essential items like door handles and the interior of the car. This should be easy and routine.
Now that your car is summer ready, you are ready to have a safe and social distancing summer fun. Remember that even though that quarantine is over does not mean the pandemic and danger is over as well. Make sure to stay clear of crowded places, visit open venues like the parks, and always wear a mask when you are out. Have a great and safe summer from our Western Motors Fresno team!