Road trip season is almost here! Make sure your vehicle is ready to handle some sun-drenched driving. Summer’s high temperatures, flurries of dust and dirt, and the occasional rain can all take a toll on your vehicle’s most important systems. With these essential services, though, you can better prepare your car and help it run smoothly and safely through summer and into fall. Ready to get started?
Tip #1: Get your oil and oil filter changed. This is particularly important if your last oil change was awhile ago, because intense weather conditions of any kind (wet, hot, or cold) can put extra demands on your oil and oil filter. Your oil works to keep your engine parts lubricated while the filter works to capture harmful debris, dirt, and metal fragments that have finagled their way into the oil system. A clean filter means more material gets picked up. More material getting picked up means cleaner oil. Cleaner oil means a healthier, happier engine!
Tip #2: Double-check your fluid levels. Seasonal weather changes can lead to low transmission fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and even windshield wiper fluid, so check them all! Coolant fluid, in particular, is an especially important one to keep an eye before the heat of the season. According to the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, the greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. If you’re not comfortable performing these checks on your own, stop by your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care and let one of our technicians take a look.
Tip #3: Check and monitor your tire pressure. Between hitting hidden potholes and dealing with difficult road conditions, your tires deserve a good check-up. The truth is, tires lose or gain pressure daily depending on the outside temperature. In cool weather, for example, a tire will typically lose one or two pounds of air per month. Make sure your tires (including your spare!) are properly inflated before hitting the road for a big summer road trip, because tires with low air pressure tend to wear out much more quickly. Get started by finding your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure.
Tip #4: Evaluate your alignment. If your car pulls to one side, your steering wheel vibrates, or your steering wheel isn’t centered when you’re driving straight, get your vehicle’s alignment checked out. Alignment can be thrown off by general wear and tear, as well as run-ins with rough roads, potholes, and curbs. Proper alignment can help extend the life of your tires, make for a smoother ride, and even save you a few bucks on gas. A quick check-up can let you know if your car is due for an alignment service.
Tip #5: Test your battery. “Summer heat accelerates the rate of fluid loss and resulting oxidation of battery components, which can leave you stranded without warning,” says Steve Fox, Director of Automotive Services for AAA Oregon/Idaho. “Most people don’t realize that heat is the number one cause of battery failure and reduced battery life,” he adds.
Tip #6: Get your brakes inspected. At the end of the day, is there anything more important than good brakes in your vehicle? Stop-and-go traffic, long holiday road trips, and inclement conditions may have done a number on your brakes. Whether your brakes are making eerie noises or demanding extra pressure, it’s may be time for some fine tuning.
You can’t always guarantee that life will run smoothly, but you can do your best to make sure that your car does. Basic maintenance services, like oil changes, are the perfect place to start before summer. Firestone Complete Auto Care’s full-service oil change includes an oil and oil filter replacement, a top-off of important fluids, and a courtesy 19-point inspection. If there’s something “off” with your brakes, battery, alignment, or tire pressure, there’s a good chance our technicians will catch it during the courtesy inspection and bring it to your attention. Summer car care couldn’t be more convenient!