Preparing Your Car for Summer Driving
(Newstream) -- It's summer, the days are longer
and the open road beckons. But before cruising around the neighborhood
or taking off cross-country, motorists must prepare their vehicles
now, to avoid getting stranded later.
"Summer driving conditions are often hot and stressful on
equipment," notes Bruce Chidsey, a world class ASE technician
and Vice President of Pep Boys Service Operations. "Maintaining
the mechanical systems of your car or light truck now can mean peace
of mind during summer road trips. Preventive maintenance is the
He suggests paying attention to these critical areas:
Failures in the cooling system are a major cause of vacation breakdowns.
Be sure to check for leaks in the radiator and heater hoses. Chidsey
notes that rubber parts are often the primary reason for breakdowns
on the road and are inexpensive to replace. He also suggests replacing
the antifreeze if it's over two years old. Also, make sure the air
conditioning system is working properly.
Tires, Steering & Suspension
Winter potholes take their toll on tires, steering and suspension
components. Check the tires for dangerous sidewall breaks and excessive
or uneven tread wear. Steering or brake pull can indicate suspension
problems or the need for a front end alignment.
Test the battery now, especially if it's at the end of its warranted
life, Chidsey advises. Also, make sure the connections between the
battery cables and terminals are tight and free of corrosion.
Salt can damage brakes, Chidsey notes.
"If it's been more than 15,000 miles or six months since
the last time the brakes were checked, get them inspected,"
he says. "Make sure the inspection includes all brake linings
and pads. The hydraulic system should also be looked over for leaks.
A sponginess in the brake pedal, a tendency to pull to one side
when braking, or a drop in the master cylinder's fluid level reservoir
can all signify a problem and the need for maintenance or service."
Engine Drive Belts
Engine drive belts operate important parts attached to your engine,
such as the alternator, water pump, smog pump and air conditioner
compressors. They should be checked regularly for cracks, dry-rot,
glazing, uneven wear and frayed edges.
"If these belts slip or break, it could mean a breakdown,
loss of air conditioning, engine overheating or worse, loss of steering.,"
Chidsey cautions. "The condition of the timing belt is also
important, since when these belts break, they can cause immediate
and potentially expensive internal engine damage."
complete information on taking care of your vehicle's engine drive
belts, visit the Car Tips section of the Pep Boys website!