No.10 – Take out your hoodie, blankets and anti-freeze
Summer is short enough. Enjoy the season for all it is and represents; don’t carry dead-weight reminders of winter with you. Take out stuff that you are unlikely to need in 30-degree sun. So hoodie, long sleeved shirts, blankets and anti-freeze to free up space.
No.9 – Clean and vacuum your interior and boot
Your car’s interior and boot need cleaning and vacuuming, especially since it may have been months since you last did this. If you have a luxury car or leather seats, be sure to apply a quality treatment to keep them pliable and ready for summer’s heat and UV rays.
No.8 – Pack in your sports & summer gear
Now that your boot is empty and clean, it’s time to add, as the late George Carlin used to say, more stuff. Not stuff for the sake of stuff, but summer stuff you’ll want in the car. Some guys move their golf bags to the trunk for the season; depending on your car and neighborhood, you might not follow suit. What we had in mind was more along the lines of a Frisbee or your soccer ball. Whatever your game, it’s good to have a few things along in your car, supercar or clunker for impromptu play.
No.7 – Check your air conditioning & air-con filter
It’s never a bad idea to periodically run your car’s air conditioner throughout the year, just to keep everything in working order. Depending on your car, it may run the system automatically for defrosting, regardless of temperature setting. Either way, don’t wait for the first 35°C day to realize your A/C is DOA. Give it a test at its coolest setting while driving. On your test run, also evaluate the air quality in your car. If your car is pulling in dirt, dust, pollen, and foul odors, try out FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filters. These cabin air filters use the power of ARM & HAMMER baking soda to absorb odors while reducing pollutants that can make daily travel unpleasant. The filters catch 98% of dirt, dust and pollen that comes through your car’s ventilation system and improve air quality while limiting odors.
No.6 – Put your sun shade in the car
Even by following the previous item on our summer car checklist, the car’s air conditioning can use a little help. This is a seemingly minor detail that makes a big difference: A sun shade for your windshield. When you’re parked in the sun, these keep the interior noticeably cooler and fold for easy storage. While you’re at it, keep sunscreen in the car for yourself. Even if you don’t share your girlfriend’s passion for liberally slathering SPF 2000, keep something realistic in the car and use it as needed.
No.5 – Change your wiper blades
As a preventative measure, six months is a good recommended cycle for windshield wiper blade replacement. Even if your wiper usage is gentle, pay attention to your wipers’ performance and replace them as soon as it drops off. Besides, it has the opposite of the car-wash effect: change your wiper blades and it’ll be sunny for weeks.
No.4 – Check your battery
Earlier in our summer car checklist, we were covering some points more about convenience. As you might have guessed by our last item, we’re getting into more critical territory, right where you’d expect a reminder to check your battery. Batteries don’t just die in the dead of winter. Summer strains them too — even more so, according to the Car Care Council. Seasonal and higher operating temperatures allow a battery’s fluid to evaporate, leading to corrosion and diminished performance. Clean the battery’s top and posts, plus top off with distilled water if yours allows.
No.3 – Check your coolant
Your car’s radiator juice is another item that isn’t just for winter driving, because the antifreeze is now acting as a coolant. Of course, this isn’t only something to be done on a summer car checklist, but throughout the year. Other than confirming the level is acceptable, check its potency. Testers are cheap and found at auto parts stores. If you need to top off your coolant, a 50/50 coolant/water mixture is generally the way to go. If your test and/or owner’s manual suggests it, change the coolant and check the hoses.
No.2 – Change your oil and filter
It’s hard to fully appreciate how important it is to change your engine oil and oil filter at the prescribed intervals. If you don’t, you’ll soon have plenty of time to ponder this — along the side of the road, probably miles from anywhere. Along with this no-brainer on your summer car checklist, check out your air filter, belts and lights, unless, of course, you’d rather skip them too and have something to do when you’re stranded.
No.1 – Check your tires
At any given time, four tyres are keeping you from a wreck while driving. Even if you have a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS), give them due caution. Check tread depth while watching for signs of wear, especially uneven wear. Make sure they all (including the spare) are at recommended cold pressures. Tires have a nasty habit of failing from improper inflation combined with extended driving on hot roads. Finally, make sure your brakes function properly. Once you’re through with your summer car checklist, you’ll be set for a better — and safer — season of driving.