Now that the warmer weather has arrived, it’s time to ensure your vehicle is ready to enjoy many miles of warm weather driving. Here are a few tips to make this seasonal transition:
1. Get a car wash. Spring for the undercarriage wash to remove salt and road debris, like chunks of asphalt, to prevent rust and make your car more aerodynamic (which improves its fuel efficiency).
2. Replace worn wipers. Winter can be brutal on your wipers—make sure they’re ready for spring showers. Check that the rubber isn’t dry or cracked, then turn them on and make sure they’re properly cleaning the windshield. If you see a problem, install a new set.
3. Check your coolant. The coolant system works overtime in warmer weather so your engine won’t overheat. Have an ASE-certified (master) mechanic flush and refill the coolant system every other year. An engine that runs too hot or too cold won’t get good gas mileage.
4. Ensure your tires are properly inflated. Properly inflating your tires can improve fuel efficiency and is a very important safety step. Check the owner’s manual or look inside the driver’s side doorframe for your vehicle’s tire pressure rating, then use a pressure gauge to make sure they’re at the right level. In warmer weather, tires that are not properly inflated are also more likely to have a blowout.
5. Change the oil. Regular oil changes help prevent engine wear and can even save you gas money. Synthetic motor oil also offers great engine protection in extreme temperatures. Check your owner’s manual to see how often this should be done on your car.
6. Get a tuneup. A poorly tuned engine can reduce fuel efficiency. To ensure your vehicle’s peak performance, get a tuneup once a year. A basic tuneup can involve the replacement of spark plugs, inspection of spark plug wires, distributor cap, distributor rotor and air filter as well as inspection of the distributor’s dwell and timing. It also provides an opportunity to check out your vehicle’s systems, such as brakes and fluid levels.
7. Check your air filter. A dirty air filter makes it harder for your engine to breathe and hurts gas mileage.