Whenever I tell someone to get their vehicle prepared for summer they quickly ask, “is that a thing?” The answer is absolutely. Summer-ization is in fact just as important as winter-ization. I’m also sure most of us would rather being thinking about warmer weather as well so here’s your chance to look ahead.
Sure, you were ready for winter. A nice set of snow tires equip your vehicle. Now’s the time to remember to change them! This is probably the most common winter item I see owners miss. Snow tires in normal conditions are highly resistant and wear quickly. Get on a set of summer tires to get the best mileage and performance.
If you somehow managed to survive the harsh New England winter on all-season tires, which is impressive, remember that cold climate and changing temperatures can quickly cause your tires to go low, so check the air pressure.
Every driven out of your house after a snow storm and felt a vibration? Some people call it snow in the tires. Regardless of the proper name what it can cause is uneven wear that wasn’t there when you first had your tires installed. So while your tires are off, make sure you rebalance them and check to see if rotation is required.
Belt, belts, and more belts
There are a few belts in the modern vehicle. They are the connection to all the different systems and may provide the kinetic energy required to run the alternator, air conditioner, hydraulic systems and keep them pressurized. Over time belts can get brittle and nothing assists that process better than the drying effect of water and salt with cold thrown in for flavor. Many of these belts need a simple visual inspection to make sure they are up for the task of another year.
Hitting the brakes
Winter is all about cold, melted snow becoming water, and abrasive sand. All of these things hate metal and metal is what makes your car stop. Things to look for are noises, vibrations, or brake fade when applying the brakes. Visually inspect the brakes. Do they look rusty even after use? These are all signs your brakes aren’t up to speed and may need maintenance.
Radiator check, 1…2…3
Things are about to heat up and your coolant is going to prove its worth. Sure anti-freeze is just that, anti-freeze; which can damage your hoses, but you may not know that anti-freeze helps your car to not overheat as well. Your technician will need to check the levels and temperature balance of coolant to do the job and keep you out of hot water. Since you’ll be in looking at the belts he can also make sure the water pump isn’t leaking.
Keeping it cool
A great time to check your air conditioning is prior to 90 degrees of heat. Sure, it may work now, but what happens when you make it to June and it suddenly decides to take a vacation of its own? AC checks take a few moments and can save you a ton of headache down the road.