Summer is on its way to the Valley, and with it comes temperatures souring above 120 degrees. These warm days beckon us to outdoor excursions and road trips, but anyone who has been broken down on a hot desert highway shoulder knows that taking a few precautions and being prepared is never something that you will regret. Here are ten easy maintenance tips to keep in mind before you hit the Arizona roads this summer.
10. Check Your Tires: One of the most overlooked yet basic and crucial components of routine maintenance, checking your tires is important because an under-inflated, over-inflated, worn down or misaligned tire can be extremely dangerous, particularly in the hot summer weather when the tire’s psi reacts to the rising external temperature.
9. Change Oil and oil Filter: The oil is the lifeblood that keeps your engine parts running smooth and clean. Make sure that you have enough of it when you check your fluids, and be sure to have it changed roughly every 3,000 miles.
8. De-Winterize Your Car: If you have been making trips up to Flagstaff and have had snow tires put on, get those replaced with some all season tires. If you have a vehicle that you haven’t used very much over the winter, it is a good idea to get the oil changed and other fluids checked. Consider fully recharging or replacing your battery.
7. Check Hoses and Belts: The hoses connected to the radiator help pump coolant to and from the engine block, and the belts run the fan that helps cool the system further. You do not want any part of this system to malfunction on the road, as your vehicle will quickly overheat. Check hoses and belts for cracks and excessive wear and tear.
6. Change the Air Filter: Air filters tend to get clogged up over the winter, especially if one has spent time in a snowier climate. Changing the air filter can also increase fuel efficiency by ten percent.
5. Replace Your Wind-Shield Wipers: The Phoenix Valley, and Arizona in general, is known for its heavy summer monsoons. With heavily decreased visibility via rain, hail, and strong winds, a fresh set of wipers could not hurt, especially if they have been exposed to harsh winter weather and may be cracked.
4. Check Your Brakes: Brakes are the most important safety feature on a car. This is especially important to keep in mind before taking any road trips this summer. Be sure to have any brake concerns checked out before taking the car out.
3. Check the Coolant and Radiator: The general rule of thumb is to flush your radiator once every two years.
2. Take Care of Your Battery: Some say that winter is tougher on batteries, and some say that summer is the time to watch out. The truth is that any extreme weather, be it hot or cold, can do a number on your battery. Keeping your battery clean will maximize performance and longevity.
1. Maintain Your Air Conditioning: Losing your air conditioning in Phoenix on a hot summers day is no picnic. Air conditioning problems are usually caused by a lack of refrigerant, which is itself usually caused by a leak in the system. This would best be worked on by a professional mechanic.
Have fun and stay safe out there on the road this summer.