Seasonal maintenance: Get your car ready before the heat is on

Let’s see, you changed the oil in April when you put your summer tires on. So you’re done with maintenance until the next tire change, right? Better think again.

Today’s cars are so reliable, it’s easy to buy into the myth of the maintenance-free vehicle. But every car needs regular maintenance, and, like many Canadians, you’re probably going to do a lot of driving during the summer vacation season. So make sure your vehicle is ready for the extra use and abuse. Get your summer maintenance done before you find yourself stalled in the middle lane in heavy traffic (which, by the way, you are now a major contributor to), or halfway between Nowheresville and God-knows-where… with a low cell phone battery… and no roadside assistance!

Start with the easy stuff.

Rising temperatures mean gains in tire pressure, so check it regularly with a reliable tire gauge. If you suspect not all is right with your tire pressure monitoring system, have it looked at by a qualified technician at NAPA AUTOPRO. Underinflated tires make the sidewalls work harder, which could result in premature failure, while overinflated tires have less rubber on the road, which can be disastrous in a heavy summer rain. As for getting an alignment after hitting those inevitable springtime potholes, your local NAPA AUTOPRO adviser will take care of that for you.

Because snow, ice and salt are hard on wiper blades, now’s the time to replace them before it starts raining cats and dogs. Almost no one lets their tires go until they fail, so why do it with your wipers?

Did you know that cooling systems are the most common source of mechanical failure? Check your hoses and belts for cracks or other obvious signs of wear or have your AUTOPRO technician do it for you. May as well have him inspect the air conditioning while he’s at it, refrigerant leaks in worn hoses can quickly make you lose your cool.

When it comes to your brakes, if you feel the pedal is on one hand too mushy, or on the other too stiff, that’s a warning sign something’s not right. Also if the pedal rides too low or too high. And if you hear any metal-on metal-scraping (as opposed to the occasional squeak or squeal, which is normal) have your brakes checked right away.

And that oil change? An extra oil change now is not a bad idea, but at least check the oil before heading out on vacation in the heat. The oil can be brownish yellow, that’s okay, but if darker or if it shows obvious dirt and grime in it, it’s time for a change.

So keep your cool this summer with a bit of preventive maintenance.
Happy and safe motoring.