For many drivers, the summer is the time of year when your tires hit the pavement most, and car care doesn’t take a vacation. Be sure your car is ready for all that mileage.
To help, here are some tips to get your car in tip-top shape for the busy driving season ahead:
• Wash and wax your car thoroughly. If you can afford it, have it professionally detailed. Direct sunlight can cause a car’s finish to become dull, but a thorough washing and waxing can also help keep your car’s paint and clear coat looking good.
It’s tempting to run the car through an automated car wash, but those big revolving brushes can dull the finish over time. If you’re not allowed to wash your car at home due to regional laws or neighborhood rules, seek out a good drive-thru wash and hand wax instead.
• Check and set your car’s tire pressure to the level specified in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s door sill. As temperatures warm up, the air in your tires can expand and that might impact the way the car handles.
Be sure not to over-inflate the tires. While low tire pressure can cause the tire to heat up if it’s not rolling down the road properly, extreme over inflation can cause a blowout in high temperatures. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, take your car to a shop like Big-O Tires, Sears Auto Center or Firestone Auto Care Center. Those kinds of chains will usually do it for free.
• Have a qualified mechanic do a visual inspection under the hood. If you’re comfortable doing this yourself, check for worn belts or hoses and make sure your coolant (sometimes called anti-freeze) isn’t too old. Coolant lasts a long time, but keeping track of when it was last changed, especially in older cars, can help you avoid overheating as the temperatures gradually climb.