Warmer weather is on the horizon; that means it’s time to plan for a ‘road trip’!  To ensure traveling is free of unforeseen mechanical issues, an ounce of prevention goes a long way.  Here are some proactive things you can do to get your vehicle ready for summer:

Summer Trip Vehicle Maintenance

1) Check the Air Conditioning

Temperatures can climb in the summer months, so it’s wise to make sure your air conditioning is functioning as it should.  To test the A/C at home, while the car is running, switch the “A/C” function on and look for these signs of any possible issues:

  • The vehicle doesn’t get cold or takes too long to cool. Most vehicles’ A/C systems should begin cooling within 60-120 seconds. If your vehicle A/C is taking longer than normal to cool off, or does not get cold at all, this signals a problem.
  • Weak airflow. If the airflow seems minimized, it could indicate a blockage.
  • Leaking water or coolant. Liquid leaking down your dash or onto the floor of your vehicle could be either water or coolant from a clogged hose or a leak which could lead to more expensive damage.
  • Unusual Noises. Listen for any unusual noises such as “whirring” or “grinding”. 
  • Unusual Smells. Unusual odors can indicate a problem somewhere in your system. Your vehicle A/C should not have any distinct smells. 

2) Inspect Wiper Blades, Check Wiper Fluid

Summer monsoons can dump high velocity rain, especially in mountain areas, and in the Southwest during August through mid September.  Intense rain can be a safety hazard if your wipers aren’t in good shape.  Check wipers for signs of wear, including separation of rubber from the wiper or excessive rust. Also check the wiper fluid level for an adequate amount in your reservoir.

3) Check the Tires

Before setting out on a trip, it’s a good idea to confirm your tires are in good condition.

  • Set tire pressure to your vehicle standard and fill any underinflated tires, or release air from overinflated tires.
  • Look for any damage such as cracks or punctures can cause slow leaks and cause problems on the road.
  • Check your tires for any signs of uneven wear across their surface. Also, tread depth should be sufficient.

4) Change the Oil

Keep your vehicle’s oil change maintenance on track during summer montrhs.  Keep in mind that your vehicle manufacturer may recommend a higher viscosity oil for heavy duty tasks, such as pulling a trailer.  Don’t be afraid to check with your service advisor for more information, as oil recommendations can be rather complex.

5) Check Your Spare Tire and Emergency Kit

If you do get a flat or break down while on the road, you’ll appreciate having your emergency supplies up-to-date.  Make sure that your spare tire is still in good condition. Confirm you have your jack, lug wrench, and key lock (if applicable). 


6) Check Your Battery, Belts and Hoses

Extreme temperatures can be hard on your battery, including the heat. Do a quick test of your battery and charging system to ensure good working order.  Make a quick visual check of your serpentine belt and hoses for cracks, visible wear, or fraying. Also listen for any odd noises from your serpentine belt such as grinding or high pitch whistling.

7) Coolant Flush 

Coolants are important in maintaining your engine’s temperature in the heat. Ensure you have an appropriate coolant level and are following your vehicle’s recommended maintenance schedule for coolant flushes.

Have safe and trouble-free travels this summer!If you need any help preparing for your summer road trips, come into Courtesy Auto and Tire of Tacoma! Our team of technicians will get your vehicle in tip-top shape to hit the roads safely. A multi-point inspection can help give you a comprehensive view of everything going on with your vehicle before you hit the roads.  Contact us to schedule an appointment today!