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The summer driving season is nearly over and stores are full of back to school merchandise.
Now that you’ve stocked up on new pencils and notebooks, make sure you don’t miss the bus with your vehicle. Your car has worked hard in the summer heat, so give it a head start on the new school year by ensuring all regular maintenance is up to date.
Review the basics – If you’ve been putting off your next service, now is the time to get that done. Through it all, your vehicle’s engine has been working in an enclosed space that is hot. Even at a comfortable 27 degrees outside, it could be more than 93 degrees in your vehicle’s engine compartment. That heat puts a lot of stress on the engine’s oil, causing breakdown that can lead to reduced protection and possibly even the formation of sludge. Most every recommended maintenance visit includes an oil change and fresh lubrication will ensure smooth sailing on your travels.
If changing others of your vehicle’s filters is also recommended at that time, it is a good practice to look after that too. Remember the engine’s air filter, fuel filter, and the commonly-overlooked cabin air filter, if your car or truck has one. A new cabin filter will more effectively keep particulates
and irritants such as pollen out of your cabin’s airflow. Change it up and breathe easy while heading back to school.
Don’t forget the details – While you’re under the hood, make sure everything else checks out, too. Do you need washer fluid? What condition are the wipers in? How about the coolant that’s in the reservoir? Not only should it be brought to the proper level, but the coolant should be just a few years old. Let it circulate too long and it loses the additives that help protect your engine from corrosion; not only that, it will no longer offer the same level of freeze and boil-over protection.
Batteries also hate the heat, so make sure you’re not making its job harder with corroded or excessively dirty electrical connections. If there is obvious green corrosion at the battery terminal connects, first neutralize the acid, then clean and re-seat all the connections. If your battery is not of the maintenance free variety, it should also be checked for the proper fluid levels. If you’re not comfortable doing these jobs, your dealer’s service department will know how.
Last, because the days are getting shorter fast, do a walk-around to make sure all the lights are working. From running lamps to blinkers and even license plate lamps, check them all. It’s obvious when a headlamp is out, but not everybody takes notice of just how many bulbs there can be on an automobile. Take a look, and if you’re unsure of which replacement bulbs to get, consult your owner’s manual. Or simply stop by and let the expert technicians do it for you. A quick check of these items will help you stay on course.
Keep your eye out for indicator lights on your dash or check your owner’s manual for recommended maintenance items and make an appointment with your service department to sail through the fall without trouble.