Get Ready for Summer Driving
The busy summer driving season is coming. Will your vehicle be ready?
The experts at the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offer the following tips on getting your vehicle ready.
* Read the owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.
* If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, look for an orderly repair facility with modern equipment in the service bays. Also, look for evidence of qualified automotive technicians, such as trade-school diplomas, certificates of advanced course work and training, as well as national certification of the individual technicians by ASE.
* Flush and refill the cooling system according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. Make sure the engine has cooled down before removing the radiator cap.
* Have engine performance problems — hard starts, rough idling, stalling — corrected. You’ll get better gasoline mileage and could prevent more expensive repairs.
* Have a qualified auto technician check the tightness and condition of belts, clamps and hoses. You should stay on the lookout for signs of wear, cracking or fraying.
* Likewise, have a faulty air-conditioner system serviced by a technician qualified to handle refrigerants. Older units often contain ozone-depleting chemicals that could be released into the air through improper or incompetent service.
* Change the oil and oil filter as specified in the owner’s manual. This simple service alone can increase the life of your vehicle. Replace other filters as recommended in the service manual.
* Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let the tires “cool down” before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, “cupping,” vibrations or pulling to one side indicate problems with your tires or suspension system.
* Don’t neglect your transmission. Costly repairs can be prevented by routine service.
* Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned-out bulbs.
* Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to fight summer’s dust and insects.
ASE was founded in 1972 to improve the quality of automotive service and repair through the voluntary testing and certification of automotive technicians. ASE-certified technicians wear blue-and-white ASE shoulder insignia and carry credentials listing their exact areas of certification. Their employers often display the ASE sign.