Aah, summer. A great time to hit the beach and strut your stuff in shorts and thongs.It’s the perfect time of year to take advantage of the season’s longer days by taking a drive along the coast, or through the city. Relax as you cruise along, listen to your favourite tunes and check out the nightlife.
However, before you can enjoy the perks of Australia’s gorgeous summer weather, you’ll need to make sure your car is in good shape. After all, you don’t want your summer plans interrupted by a breakdown, do you?
You can prevent costly car repairs by following these simple summer car maintenance tips!
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The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.
CAUTION! – Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot – boiling coolant under pressure could cause serious burns.
Your safety rides on your tyres – literally. They are the only parts of your vehicle that are actually in contact with the road, so it makes sense to keep them in their best possible condition.
Under or over-inflation of your tyres is dangerous and can lead to excessive tread wear. Check your tyres monthly to ensure correct tyre inflation and adjust the pressure according to the placard on the driver’s door jamb.
Make sure there is at least 3mm of the tyre tread remaining (have a mechanic check if you’re not sure). If under 3mm of tread left, your tyres need to be replaced. Also, ensure your spare tyre is properly inflated and in good repair in the event of a flat.
Fix the Check Engine Light
The most common problem you’re likely to experience is an illuminated Check Engine light.
It tells you your car’s not healthy in one way or another, yet doesn’t provide the exact mechanical issue.
Avoid the urge to ignore your Check Engine light. While the problem could be as minor as a loose fuel cap, it could be a major problem that could cost thousands to repair if not addressed quickly, or worse still, leave you stranded.
Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.
BONUS: Get a Complete Vehicle Inspection
Before you head out on a summer trip, organise an overall vehicle inspection. Get your battery and charging system tested, have all the fluids, brakes and lubrication points checked, and have the steering and suspension components looked over.
Have a professional inspector like German Precision to check all the mechanical and electrical systems to ensure they are operating properly.