Rising temperatures, longer days and shorter nights are sure signs that summer is on its way. With so much to look forward to –the end of school, summer vacations, and quality time with friends and family –ow is the perfect time to get your vehicle ready for all of the adventures that you have planned.

The best place to begin is under the hood. Check all of the fluids to make sure they are at appropriate levels –coolant, radiator, power steering, oil –and belts for signs of cracks or leaks. If it’s been awhile since your last oil change now would be a good time to have that done as well as checking the air filter. Also, summer can be rough on your car battery but cleaning the heads thoroughly and making sure that they are properly attached can help prolong its life.

Most of this can be completed pretty easily yourself but it doesn’t hurt to take it in to a certified mechanic for a pre-summer inspection; especially if you are planning on spending a lot of time on the road this summer. If you do take it in don’t forget to ask about for a check on you’re A/C unit. There is nothing worse on a hot summer day than having your air conditioning die.

One of the most frequently neglected items on your vehicle is the tires. Too many people neglect to check their tire pressure or for signs of wear even though poorly maintained tires are more likely to blow out and cause an accident. The proper tire pressure can be found on the tire’s sidewall or on the inside of the driver’s door panel. Properly inflated tires not only last longer and wear more evenly but they also get better gas mileage. You can also visually inspect the tires for signs of wear, cracks, or other damage as well as perform the penny test to check the tread depth. There are lots of tire videos out there if you need assistance or take your vehicle to a local tire dealer.

Lastly, give your car a good cleaning. Not only will it make your car look good but it will remove all the buildup of salt and grim from winter that can damage you vehicle, particularly the metal undercarriage.

Proper summer car care is as much about keeping your vehicle running safely as it is about car safety. Taking care of your vehicle now will ensure that it’s all set and ready to go whenever you are.

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