Summer car maintenance

With our busy schedules, we tend to overlook simple things that can eventually grow into bigger problems.
I, for example, was too preoccupied with homework and other activities that I forgot to check my car for regular maintenance until it was too late.
Well, lucky you, today I will talk about a few simple things we can check in our cars to avoid expensive mechanical repairs.
Lets start with the tires.
It is important to check the tires regularly in order to extend their life and durability.
It is also important to remember that tire pressure changes with the rising temperatures – approximately one to two PSI (pounds per square inch) for every 10-degree increase in or outside air temperature.
Always check the owners manual and the tires sidewall for proper tire pressure and remember the penny trick. Stick a penny in the thread, and if Lincoln’s head disappears, you’re good. If not, it’s time to replace your tire.
Now lets talk about engine oil.
The engine oil is what helps the engine parts stay clean and run smooth.
On average the oil should be replaced every three to five months (depending on how much you drive), and can be easily done in a minute or two while adding gas to your car.
To check the engine oil let the car run for a few minutes and turn it off.
Find a leveled surface and find the hood release lever.
The hood release lever is located on the drivers side of the vehicle next to the pedals.
The lever has a picture of an opened hood. Open the hood and find the dipstick.
The dipstick is usually a colorful plastic ring. Pull the dipstick and with a rag or paper towel, wipe it clean and re-insert it again.
Look for the high and low marks on the dipstick. If you are low on oil, you can add another quart or take it to a mechanic.
There are two important things to check when checking your engine oil. One, is to look for the color. If its clean, it should look brownish yellow, and it should be clean on the stick. If it looks dark in color or there’s a lot of dirt and grime, then you need an oil change and filter replacement.
Now lets move onto belts and hoses. The main thing to remember is that during summer we want our engines to remain cool.
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.
If the hoses snap or the belts crack then the car can stall and leave you stranded. The hoses should be firm not soft. Look for leaks, blisters or cuts.
With the belts look for cracks or tears. Make sure the belts are not smooth, and make sure the belts are not too loose.
If you have a hose or a belt that needs replacing, look at the cars manual for the proper size, or take it to a mechanic.
To check your radiator coolant make sure the engine is off and cool.
You can tell if the engine is cool by touching the top radiator hose without burning your hand.
To remove the radiator cap use a rag or paper towels and open counter clockwise.
Open it slowly in case you have built up pressure or fluid coming out.
When you remove it you should see fluid. If you don’t, add some coolant.
Also check your coolant reservoir.
There are different kids of coolant fluid that can be used.
One is the 50/50 pre-diluted anti freeze that is ready to use and doesn’t require any water.
Another kind is un-diluted anti-freeze and that requires more knowledge of water to coolant and requires distilled water.
Using tap water can created mineral deposits inside the cooling system.
To add coolant to the coolant reservoir unscrew the cap and add fluid to where you see the minimum and maximum and add accordingly.
Now the last thing I will mention will be checking the brakes.
The brakes are extremely important and unless you know how to replace brakes, you will have to use your ears for this one.
make sure the brakes are not loud or constantly making a grinding noise. If you have an indicator or warning light for your brakes, great. Use it.
If not, make sure your brake pedal is not soft or mushy or very hard and resistant. Also, squeaking brakes do not necessarily mean the car needs brakes.
Brakes squeak for different reasons. When the squeaks become a grind, that’s when it’s time to replace.
Alright, I hope with these safety tips you can extend the life of your vehicle and save some money for your pocket.