Get in Gear with a Summertime Tune-Up
According to AutoTrader.com, more than half of drivers perform work on their car themselves instead of brining the car to a dealership or shop. While do-it-yourself maintenance can save hundreds of dollars in professional mechanic services, it’s important not to leave out any items on your tune-up checklist, especially in summertime.
The steps are simple – just remember the acronym SUMMER:
Scrub the Battery – Car battery drain is a common problem. Help keep your battery healthy and clean by sprinkling baking soda onto battery terminals and lightly spraying with water. Let the baking soda mixture sit for an hour before wiping it off with a wet sponge. Many auto parts stores also have cleaner specifically for car batteries. You can also ask them about a corrosion preventing kit, which sells for about $10.
Use a Sunshade – Summer heat can cause cosmetic damage to your car’s paint and interior, especially if you repeatedly park in direct sunlight. Be sure to preserve your vehicle’s paint job with a UV-protectant wax, always try to park in a shady spot, and consider purchasing an inexpensive sunshade to help protect the car’s interior.
Maintain Proper Fluid Levels – Coolant, or antifreeze, is the number one fluid you should check in your car during the summer months, as it helps protect your cooling system from corrosion and overheating. Add more if your level is below the minimum line – but do not open the coolant tank lid while your engine is hot.
Make Sure Tire Pressure Is Correct – Properly inflated tires are safer, last longer and can even improve fuel economy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that proper tire pressure can improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, saving you money at the pump. Be sure to check your spare tire, too.
Expect an Emergency – Pack an emergency kit in your car with the essentials, such jumper cables, a flashlight, paper towels, roadside flares, a first-aid kit, bottled water, and even snacks like granola bars.
Replace Your Wiper Blades – While it may seem obvious, summer storms can often roll in unexpectedly. Replace the blades every six months, or as soon as you notice decreased visibility or unusual squeaky noises.