As we plan, dream, and anticipate where the warmest months of the year will take us, it is important to properly prepare your car for the summer, especially if you are thinking of taking off on a long road trip.
We will cover the basic items that you might want to take a second look at as your car will drive for hundreds, perhaps thousands of kilometers across various roads towards your holiday destination.
1. Check the tires
Firstly, check out your tires. While during the winter they are extremely important, the summer months can have their surprise rain showers or just bad weather periods, which requires you to be properly prepared in terms of the amount of grip you have.
While running winter tires during the summer is an option, it is not an option that you should exercise. Fundamentally, the two different compounds have their distinctions:
The summer tire is made of a compound that is specifically made for dry and wet roads during warmer temperatures, providing excellent grip and water clearance for you not to aquaplane on the road. Meanwhile, winter tires are suited for colder weather and ice, snow, and slush, rather than plain water present on the road.
Thus, for the sake of your safety, be sure to change your tires for the respective period of the year. Make sure that your summer tires have enough of a protector left, and not only that they are within the legal limit but also can guarantee your safety.
In addition, be sure to check whether they are not bleeding air by filling them up with air, according to the manufacturer’s recommended level of tire pressure, which can be found on a sticker, usually on the driver’s door. If following a certain period on the road it drops below the recommended level, which might indicate a potential leak and a safety hazard.
2. Make sure your Air Conditioner operates as intended
While typically we remember that our Air Conditioner lacks refrigerant as the summer sun is in its zenith, filling up before you go on a trip or before the warmest periods have kicked up the temperature to a maximum.
If your Air Conditioning system is malfunctioning, OBDeleven can help you pinpoint the issue following a full scan of your control units. In addition, the Basic Settings feature of the device will allow you to calibrate your air distribution and temperature flaps, ensuring that your A/C system works properly.
3. Check your oil and antifreeze
Thirdly, remember to check your most crucial fluids that run through the engine and the car, including the oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, and power steering fluid.
All of the four fluids will have different ways of indicating how much of the select fluid you have running through the engine. The most obvious one is to check the dipstick to make sure you have enough oil, which you can do by pulling it out, wiping it clean, and then repeating the process to see how much oil you have left.
As for the antifreeze, brake, and power steering liquids, each car and model year has different locations for the three reservoirs, however, you should find all of them in the engine bay. Some cars, in particular the newer models, might not have any power steering fluid, as the rack is operated electronically.
Nevertheless, running out of said liquids can result in a trip that has ended sooner than it should have, a very expensive repair bill, or in the worst-case scenario, a safety issue, especially if we are talking about a brake fluid leak.
Checking whether you have any leaks can be as simple as moving your car from the place it was parked, as fluid might have dripped onto the surface below your car. Warning lights on your dashboard can also showcase a potential issue with any of your fluids, and the poor performance of your brake pedal or the power steering system is also a great pointer that something might be wrong with some of the most crucial operating systems on your vehicle.
4. Activate automatic rain closing with OBDeleven
There is no doubt that if we were to play a game of word associations, summer would invoke the word sun. At the same time, those refreshing summer showers can catch you and your car off-guard, and potentially, even damage your electronic systems in the interior of your car if it is standing in the open air with open windows.
If you have disabled this function with OBDeleven previously, or it was not enabled by default to your equipment package, you can do so with the help of the device’s One-Click Apps. In the case that there is no programming application to activate that feature, you can program it yourself with the Coding / Long Coding feature, however, you have to have the Rain Light Sensor (RLS) or the Rain Light Humidity Sensor (RLHS) if you wish to enable this feature.
5. Scan your control units with OBDeleven
Lastly, scanning your car for any potential active or passive faults will make sure that you take off towards your destination without any problems that might have been hidden from the naked eye.
With OBDeleven’s diagnostic functionality, you will obtain a full report of the status of your control units that you will be able to clear or share. Once you clear your fault codes, you can scan again to make sure no errors show up again, and even if they do, you can share the data log with your mechanic or your friend to alleviate these issues before going on a trip.
And that’s it!
If you wish to see the tips in more detail, check out our video on how to prepare your car for the summer below: