Despite the skyrocketing gas prices, summer is approaching and everyone is still planning their road trips. Whether you are just cruising the coastline, traversing Baja, or doing a cross-country trek, your car needs some attention to keep it running at peak performance through the summer. Preparing your car for summer by visiting a San Diego auto repair shop is a simple step to take to save you time, money, and sanity when you are on the road this summer. Taking the necessary precautions will keep your car purring while you wave and laugh as you pass the family stuck on the side of the highway with a car that overheated for the fifteenth time.
- Tires – A common misconception is that you need new tires for the rainy winter seasons, but in reality, the summer heat can do more damage to tires. If your tires look dry and cracked, have bubbles, or have worn out treads, take your car into a San Diego tune up shop to either have them fixed or replaced. Once you are confident the tires will last, double check the air pressure to ensure they aren’t over or under inflated.
- Cooling System – The most common breakdown during summer is due to overheating. Have a mechanic examine your cooling system, and be confident you will be able to blast the air conditioning without risk of overheating. You don’t want to be that guy cruising up a hillside at 10mph with the heat on high to prevent overheating.
- Battery – A visual inspection of the battery will give you an idea of how soon it will die on you. If summer is approaching and you see a lot of moisture or corrosion on the battery, get it replaced or at least inspected by a professional. Asking every stranger you see at a gas station for jumper cables will quickly get annoying on a summer road trip.
- Fluids – Check your car’s manual for an explanation of all the fluids in your car, what they should look like, and how high they should be. Everything from your coolant to windshield wiper fluid should be cleaned and topped off before the summer strikes.
- Belts and Hoses – Similar to the battery, do a quick visual examination of all of your belts and hoses to see if they are old, cracked, or ready to fail. While the engine is cool, squeeze the hoses to determine their strength and take a close look for any cracks on the engine drive belt.
- Brakes – A reputable San Diego brake repair shop will be able to tell you how much life is left in your brakes and rotors. Have someone take a look at them before summer arrives because the heat can take a toll on your brake pads, and once those are gone, you will be digging into the rotors; a very expensive repair.
Erick D. Smith lives in San Diego, California and blogs about cars.