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Is Your Car Ready For Summer Road-trips?

Published by Courtney Fanning on

Summer for most Canadians usually means cottage getaways, family vacations, camping trips, and weekend road trips; giving up hibernation for outdoor adventure and sunshine is something everyone is after. Whatever you choose to do this year, it’s likely that you’re going to hit the road. Before you do, be sure that your car is ready for summer.

Although Canada may be known for our bitter cold winters, we must also acknowledge our scorching hot summers. That means that getting your car ready for summer is just as important as preparedness and maintenance for winter.

Get Your Car Ready for Summer Checklist

Compiled here is a checklist of the most common and important components to check to be both prepared for the future, and optimize your vehicle's performance:

Windshield Wiper Blade Inspection

Fluctuating temperatures can do a number of things to windshield wiper blades, including tearing and cracking them. No one wants to get stuck in the pouring rain with failing wiper blades and no visibility. We recommend that you replace your blades every six months, either along with the changing seasons, or after visible wear and tear.

Fluid Check & Top Up

After the normal use of any vehicle, fluids will drop. It’s important to stay on top of this, as you can do extensive damage to your vehicle if they drop below the minimum requirement. Checking your power steering, brake, transmission, coolant, and washer fluid levels are a must, and you should top them up if required. If these levels are kept low, it will become evident and noticeable while driving, and lead to expensive repairs if ignored.

Engine Oil Quality & Level

Continuing to change your oil and oil filter at consistent intervals is a great way to keep your vehicle running smoothly. Wear on your engine will increase as your oil levels decrease, so making sure your oil level is where it should be is a must. Overlooking this can and will result in higher fuel consumption, poor engine performance, and possibly severe engine damage.

Cabin Air Filter & Engine Air Filter Check

Most modern vehicles have two air filters: the cabin air filter, and the engine air filter. These both help to filter the air going into their designated areas respectively. The cabin air filter helps in maintaining the air quality within your vehicle, as it picks up any pollutants like dirt, dust, and allergens from the outside air before entering your vehicle. The engine air filter keeps these same pollutants out of your vehicle's engine rather than cabin. Internal combustion within your engine requires air to function, thus a clean engine air filter is imperative to your vehicle’s efficiency and performance. Checking these filters is a must, and they should be replaced if necessary to keep both you and your vehicle safe and healthy.

Tire Pressure Check

Essentially, your tires are the only contact point between you and the road, so they must be maintained. Checking both the pressure and state of your tires should be something you keep in mind. It’s best to maintain the manufacturer's recommended pressure stated within the owner's manual. Both an over-inflated tire and under-inflated tire can end in bad news. Uneven tread or irregular wear is something that you should also regularly look out for.

Lugnut Check & Tighten

Torque is the unit of measurement for the twisting force applied to lug nuts on your wheels. After daily use of your vehicle, lug nuts undergo stresses and forces that include the weight of the vehicle, and potholes and bumps in the road. These stresses can cause a slight shift in the seating of lug nuts, which can result in tightening or loosening. The presence of dirt, rust, sand, or grit between surfaces like the threads of the nut can also create ‘false torques’ during the initial fitting - the force applied overcomes the friction but does not translate into clamping force. These reasons are beyond the control of any technician, and therefore it is recommended that you re-torque your lug nuts after a wheel service, especially a seasonal tire changeover. Just like tire pressure, both over-torqued nuts and under-torqued nuts can end in bad news. The best thing to do is make sure your vehicle’s lug nuts are tightened properly to specifications.

Vehicle Battery Test

Also referred to as an AVR test (Alternate Voltage Regulator), you should have the strength and durability of your vehicle’s battery tested after a long chilly winter. Winters are not friendly to anything or anyone, so do not assume your battery will get a pass. No one wants to be stuck on the side of the road with a car that won’t start. Making sure your battery is charged and healthy is a necessity.

Lightbulb Check

Something that is commonly left aside and forgotten about is a vehicle's exterior lighting. Although it is assumed that your indicators, headlights, and brake lights are working, doing a quick 360° walk around will guarantee you the knowledge that they are in perfect working order. When your vehicle has faulty lights, other drivers on the road may not get the message that you’re turning or stopping, putting both you and them at risk.

Battery Terminal Cleaning

When on the topic of cleaning vehicles, many people brush over what’s under the hood. Keeping your battery terminal clean from any battery corrosion, buildup, and grim on the terminals helps to keep your vehicle free of the possible negative impacts on both your engine and battery performance. Ensuring your battery case is clean not only means you are taking a step towards vehicle health, but you’re also keeping it lookin’ pretty.

Brake Inspection

It’s very common that drivers take their brakes for granted. They suffer through the long and torturous winter months, and overcompensate for the icy and slushy roads, which in turn wears them down quicker. Keeping up-to-date with brake maintenance during the summer months is highly important, as the hot temperatures put more stress on your brakes when the heat from friction builds up, all the while they may also be worn down from the previous winter season. The best thing you can do for yourself is to take a look at the condition of your brakes, and  get the proper maintenance done if need be.

Interior/Exterior Cleaning & Detailing

Removing all the dirt, salt, and grime from your vehicle is important - a dirty car is more susceptible to rust buildup. Giving your vehicle both a deep clean on the inside and outside keeps it looking new, cleanly, and makes for a more comfortable drive. Clean cars are safer to navigate, they keep you healthy, and they make you proud.

Summer Road Trip Readiness Tips

Summer getaways are a great way to get your family out of the house, create unforgettable memories, and spend much needed quality time together. Although they may not pan out as smoothly as one can hope, there are certain things you can do to prepare for what lies ahead.

Here are some vehicle tips for your upcoming road trips:

Spare Tire Pressure & Condition

Having a spare tire with you is great! Who knows what can happen out on the road. But imagine going to use said tire only to find out that it’s as good as garbage. One thing you can do for yourself is to be aware of your spare tires pressure and condition. Knowing that you can rely on it if you end up in a situation where it’s needed gives you not only peace of mind, but also keeps you safe.

Emergency Supply Kit

Having some extra things on hand can and will result in the difference between an amazing vacation and epic disaster. Being prepared for the unknown by bringing essentials can keep you, your passengers, and others on the road safe in any circumstances. An example of what to include in an emergency kit includes:

  • First Aid Kit
  • Non-Perishable Foods & Water
  • Portable Charger and Batteries
  • Flashlights
  • Flares & Hazard Cones
  • Tools (i.e wrench, car jack, pliers)
  • Jumper Cables
  • Extra Fluids (i.e coolant, oil, wiper fluid)

There’s a high chance that your vehicle experienced some form of wear and tear while driving in the winter months, so now more than ever is the time that you should find and identify any minor problems before they snowball into major ones. 

When getting ready for whatever adventure this summer entails, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.  That's why LubeVan's created a Summer Road Trip Readiness Bundle to help get your car ready for summer!

Let us handle the dirty work while you gear up for singing along to some loud music, and playing eye-spy on dusty, country roads.