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6 (Yes, Six) Summer Driving Maintenance Tips

Jennie McRae - Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Everyone at COS and Central Station wants to wish you a very happy summer! We hope it’s off to a good start, and today’s blog is all about what you need to do before you enjoy that vacation you’ve been planning for months! Nobody wants to start off his or her family vacation with a breakdown! Tune-ups, oil changes, battery checks, and tire rotations will go a long way in making sure you don’t start your vacation off on a bad foot.

 

Here are 6 (yes, six) maintenance checks to remember before you hit the road:

 

1.     Check your Tires

 

We suggest you check your tire pressure, tread wear, and your spare tire. It’s completely normal for your tires to lose air over time—tires do not need to be punctured to lose air. It’s also important to remember that the number listed on the tire itself is not the correct pressure for your vehicle. Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, so don’t forget to check your air!

 

When you’re checking the air in your tires, also be sure to look for wear on the tread. If the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch, it’s time to replace those tires.

 

How do you tell, you ask? Just use the penny test!

 

Place a penny in the tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. If you can see top of his head, your vehicle needs new tires! And, if you find uneven tread wear, it means that your tires need to be rotated and/or your wheels need aligning.

 

2.     Check your Wiper Blades

 

After all that ice and snow (yes, SNOW in Louisiana!) we had this winter, it’ll be necessary for you to check the wear and tear on your wiper blades. If your wipers look like they need some TLC, just toss ‘em. That means it’s time for new ones, anyway!

 

3.     Look at your Cooling System (Antifreeze)

 

Your radiator needs water and antifreeze to keep your engine functioning properly, especially in the hotter months. When your car is cold (meaning, it hasn’t been running recently), carefully check the coolant level to make sure that the reservoir is full.

 

Also please note that if your coolant looks clear (it should be bright neon yellow or red, depending on your vehicle), it is time to have the cooling system flushed and refilled. The big red flag here is if your coolant looks sludgy—immediately take your vehicle to a mechanic if this is the case.

 

(For more information on coolant and which one you need for your car, please see our blog dedicated completely to antifreeze!)

 

4.     Look at your Fluid Levels

 

By fluids, we mean: look at your oil, transmission, power steering, and windshield washer fluids!

 

Make sure your reservoirs are full! And if there is any sign of leakage, its probably better to go ahead and take your vehicle in the be serviced.

 

5.     Check your Lights!

 

Don’t forget to make sure all your lights are working properly! Check your turn signals, headlights, brake lights, emergency flashers, and interior lights! Also, if you’re towing a trailer, don’t forget to look at the brake lights and turn signals on those, as well.

 

6.     Look at Belts and Hoses

 

Be sure to inspect your belts and hoses to make sure there are no bulges, cracks, blisters, or cuts in the rubber. If you see signs of these things starting, it’s better to get those replaced now because hot temperatures will only exacerbate these problems.

 

And there you have it! Six important maintenance checks to do before you burn rubber! For more information, please call 1-800-883-8081.

 

Sources: safecar.gov/summerdrivingtips

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