The mercury is rising and it’s time to take your ride through the wash. But aside from a good soak and scour, what else should you be doing to get your car ready for the summer?
1. Get those winter tires off
If you’ve put winter tires on your car (and you should) then the start of April is the time to take them off. Winter tires are softer than all-seasons and summer tires so not only are you sacrificing fuel economy while those winter tires are still on your car, you’re also wearing them down at a neckbreak pace. In many parts of the country it isn’t unheard of to have a snowfall in April or May but it doesn’t stick around long enough to warrant keeping your winter tires on. Winter tires are also typically heavier than other tires so you’ll find your vehicle is a touch more responsive and nimble.
2. Change your windshield wipers
Winter is tough on windshield wipers. All that heavy snow, slush, being frozen and having ice chipped off them; it isn’t surprising to find your windshield wipers cracked or chipped when the long weekends start rolling around again. You’ll want fresh and operational windshield wipers patrolling your front and rear windshields. Thunderstorms are much more frequent in the summertime given the two main factors in their creation are in full force: All that moisture that’s been released to the environment from melting ice and rapidly rising temperatures. When you’re on your way home from the cottage and you get caught in a torrential downpour you’ll want to be able to see when you’re crawling along the highway.
3. Ensure your air conditioning is blowing cold
There’s going to be some time between when you stop blowing the heater and full blast and cranking on the AC all the way to max. This is the perfect time to give your AC a test. If you have access to a thermometre then take ten minutes to do this simple test. Get a reading of the air temperature outside your vehicle. Now get in your car and get the air conditioning going. It should be able to maintain a temperature of ten degrees Celsius lower than the outside temperature. If yours isn’t doing this you’ll want to take it to a licensed mechanic. The last thing you want is your AC going on vacation the same day you are. Your mechanic will check to see if it’s just a leak and you’re running low on R-13a, the refrigerant used in modern air conditioning systems, or if you need a recharging of the system.
4. Change your filters
For the mechanically inclined this isn’t a tough job to change your filters but if opening your hood is about as appealing as a punch in the face then a quick lube place can usually handle this for you. Changing your filters, especially your air filter is a good idea thanks to the amount of pollen in the air in the spring. Your filters will have been given a good workout over the winter months and starting things afresh is a solid idea. All that salt that clogged up your air filter over the winter has probably aided in the reduction of fuel economy so a new one should help you out at the pumps. Air filters are fairly inexpensive and the recommended interval for change is 20,000 kilometres but you’ll want to be outside going places when the warm weather hits so even if you had it replaced in the fall, consider a new one now.
5. Check your battery
A foot of snow on your car, the chill of an early morning and when you turn your key, the car won’t even turn over. Lots of us have been in that situation but truth be told, the summer months can be just as harsh on your battery. Heat can lead to the evaporation of battery fluid and cause damage and heat can cause the battery to overcharge. To combat this, make sure your cables are clean. This isn’t a hard job at all, simply open your hood, detach the cables the give the connections a wipe down with some paper towel or cloth. If you’re curious about the state of your battery any service station can check the charge and let you know the status of your battery.