How to Get Your Car Ready for Summer

summer vehicle tipsYou likely already know that you need to take steps to get your vehicle ready for seasons like winter, when the cold temperatures and harsher weather can take a toll on your vehicle. But what about season like summer? Like winter, there are extreme temperatures and harsh weather, both of which can damage your vehicle or make driving dangerous is your car is not properly prepared. Here are some tips for getting your Kia ready for summer:

1. Take off the snow tires or prep your all-weather tires. Most people do not spend very much time thinking about their tires—but they should. The tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. They impact its safety and how well it performs. Right now, before summer gets here and you hit the road for your summer road trips, is the perfect time to make sure that your tires are ready to go. Check to make sure they are inflated properly. If you have snow tires, switch them out for normal tires. Rotate your tires to make sure that all four wear evenly. And take a little extra time to make sure your spare is still in proper working condition.

2. Have your brakes checked. When was the last time you went in and had your brakes checked? Many shops will do this service while your oil is being changed, but if they don’t, make sure to make a special appointment to have them checked. The water and cold that comes along with winter could wreak havoc on your brakes, cracking them, wearing them, and making them prime for failure. Don’t wait until you start to hear your brakes squeal or feel them shudder and slip. Check them before you start to experience any serious problems with them.

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3. Time for a car wash. During the winter, and even during the spring, it can be difficult to find the time to have your car washed. If you still have deicer and road grime on your car from the winter, give your car a thorough washing, both inside and out. While the automatic car wash might do some good, a hand wash is usually a better option, as it will ensure that you really do get all of the dirt and grime off of your vehicle. Pay special attention to your wheels and to the underbody of your vehicle.

4. Have your oil checked. Depending on how often you drive your vehicle, you might need to have your oil checked every three months or every six. Your vehicle will likely tell you when it needs an oil change, but it’s still a good idea to check. Check not just its level, but the color, too. If the oil is black and grimy, it’s time for it to be changed. If it is amber, it is still good. Make sure your oil is filled to the right fill marks.

5. Check your coolant levels. While your vehicle uses coolant all year round, it is most important during the hotter months of the year. Low coolant during the summer months could make it impossible for you to drive your vehicle. You should be able to see the container when you lift the hood of your car and there should be marks on the container that show you what level your coolant should be. Refill the coolant or take your car to a shop where they will refill it for you. This will probably need to be done at least once a year, for most vehicles.

6. Check your power steering fluid. Are you starting to feel that your vehicle is a little less responsive to your navigation? Is it starting to groan when you turn the wheel? Even if it is not doing either of these things, don’t be afraid to take a look at your power steering fluid. This is one of the most important fluids in your vehicle. Look in your owner’s manual to make sure you are using the right type of fluid or, alternatively, take your vehicle in to your dealership or a maintenance shop to top it off for you.

7. Test your battery. Batteries might be more likely to fail during the winter, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have any trouble with them once temperatures start to rise. If you are familiar with the composition and construction of your battery, you might want to open its lid and check its fluid level. At the very least, look at your battery and make sure that is no discharge or any kind of leakage from the battery’s top. Many vehicles, especially new Kia vehicles, will have sealed batteries, which means you cannot open them up. In this case, you can take your vehicle to our maintenance department and ask them to test your battery to make sure it is still in prime working condition.

8. Change your windshield wipers. This small, very simple piece of maintenance is one of the most overlooked. Your windshield wipers should be changed at least once a year. After the harsh conditions of winter, it is likely that the rubber on your wipers is cracked or has become rigid, making it difficult for the wipers to adequately clean your windshield. Most summers bring heavy rainfall, which means you are going to want to have wipers that work properly to clear water, road grime, and mud from your windshield.

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