What better time to take a family road trip than the summer? Icy roads and snow tires are long gone, and driving conditions generally tend to be optimal. The kids are enjoying a longer break from school, and great weather literally compels you outside. But summer does come with unique concerns from afternoon thunderstorms to sweltering temperatures, road construction to animals darting last-minute across roadways. With the increased mileage of road trips, you can also be sure that your vehicle will experience extra wear and tear along the way requiring some extra summer car care.
So, we’ve created this handy maintenance checklist to ensure that your car stays in optimal shape while you’re enjoying life on the road. These are also great tips to pass along to your wash customers so that the summer fun doesn’t stop any time soon.
One. Keep Your Cool
There’s more to keeping your engine cool than oil and coolant. Other factors include properly maintained hoses and belts. Your car contains a whole system designed to keep the engine cool, and it can get overloaded during the hot summer months. You want to support this system through consistent preventative maintenance. Check under the hood regularly to make sure that your coolant levels are sufficient. While you’re under there, you should also look for leaks, weak hoses and belts, and signs of a dirty radiator. If you see any of these things, schedule a trip to the mechanic before the problem gets worse.
Two. Keep Those Cool Breezes Blowing
Nothing will ruin a road trip faster than an improperly functioning air conditioning unit. No one wants to cruise down the highway with lukewarm air blasting from car vents, let alone sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic. If your A/C isn’t blowing cold enough, you may have a leak. Schedule a proper inspection and repair before hot breezes wreak havoc on your summer fun.
Three. Make Sure Your Windshield Wipers Still Work
Depending on the part of the country that you live in, you may not have used your windshield wipers much since winter. But that doesn’t mean you won’t need them at a moment’s notice. The ice, snow, salt, and cold temperatures of winter can do a real number on your wipers, leaving the rubber cracked, torn, and crumbling. You do not want to learn about this problem at 65 miles per hour driving through a sudden torrential afternoon thunderstorm. Before coming face-to-face with poor visibility, replace your wiper blades. It’s a quick, cheap fix, that will guarantee you’re prepared for whatever weather summer blows your way.
Four. Get an Oil Change
Dirty and grimy oil can tax your engine and cause it to overheat, which could bring your
“Great American” road trip to a sudden, abrupt halt. You may get your oil changed every three months like clockwork, but mileage is actually a better indicator of when the oil should be replaced, especially since we tend to rack up extra miles during the summer through trips to the lake, camping, and other weekend getaways. It’s always a good practice to get an oil change before long road trips. That way, you’ll rest assured knowing that your vehicle is prepped for the long haul.
Five. Get Your Tires and Brakes Checked
Last but certainly not least, you need to inspect your tires and brakes before heading out on your next big driving adventure. Hot temperatures lead to increases in tire pressure, and this can translate into more road wear and tear and even blowouts. Likewise, in the days leading up to your road trip, pay extra attention to any braking issues or sounds that seem out of the ordinary. If something feels different or you hear new sounds, get your brakes checked immediately.
By paying attention to these five tips, you’ll ensure that your next road trip is a success. These preventative maintenance issues are relatively simple and affordable to have done and will help you avoid far more serious damage and repair bills later. You will also improve the efficiency and safety of your vehicle’s performance while exploring this big, beautiful world.
If you’re in the car care business, helping your customers understand the importance of this maintenance checklist will build trust and loyalty. Your car care business may already offer some of these inspections and services to customers. But even if your business doesn’t, you can still make these tips available to your employees and customer. Urge your employees to watch out for car maintenance red flags so that they can direct customers to qualified service technicians. These extra efforts on the part of you and your employees will foster connections, loyalty, and lifelong customers.
Have you found these tips helpful? Do you have any ideas to add? Either way, we’d love to hear from you. Give us a shout out in the comments below or contact us directly.