Summertime is travel time. Even with gasoline prices at an all-time high, Canadians can’t resist the lure of sunny skies and the open road. This means spring – right now! – is the time to get your car ready for taking those summer adventures.
Before hitting the road, you can take several simple precautions to keep your family safe and save money at the pump. Extreme heat and long drives can be tough on cars. Cracked hoses, leaky radiators, underinflated tires and dirty filters can significantly lower your fuel efficiency, or worse, lead to a total breakdown.
Tip No. 1 – Powerful storms can dump a lot of water on your car. Can your windshield wipers handle the downpour? Winter cold and extreme temperatures make cracks and tears in the rubber that lower the effectiveness of the wipers. If your wipers are leaving visible streaks or take several passes to clear away light rain, they need to be replaced. When replacing a wiper blade, it’s better to replace the whole blade, not just the rubber part.
Tip No. 2 – Make sure to check your tire pressure regularly with an accurate gauge. Tires are one of the most overlooked parts of a car. The truth is that an under-inflated, over-inflated, worn down or misaligned tire can be extremely dangerous, particularly in hot summer weather.
Tip No. 3 – Check your car’s oil often. Oil is the lifeblood of your car. It keeps hardworking engine parts running clean, smooth and cool. Oil change specialists suggest every 3,000 miles (4,828 kilometers) or three months. The fact is, most of us do a lot of heavy driving during the summer when an engine is more likely to overheat. So at least check your oil before you head out on that road trip with the family.
Tip No. 4 – If a hose breaks or a belt snaps, your car may overheat. The key to summer driving is keeping the engine cool. The hoses connected to the radiator help pump coolant to and from the engine block, and the belts run the fan that helps cool the system further. If the hoses crack or the belts snap, the radiator will quickly overheat, leaving you stranded so check hoses for cracks, leaks and loose connections.
Tip No. 5 – Over the winter, your car’s air filter can get clogged with salt and other thick debris. A clogged air filter can really lower your fuel efficiency. Replacing a dirty or clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Tip No. 6 – Brakes need to be replaced when the lining on your brake pad or brake shoe is worn. You can have your brake linings checked at any normal service shop or at a brake specialist.
Submitted By Lynn Hill, Vice President of Peterborough Kia